Edinburgh GP clinic warns 6,000 patients they could be turned away when making appointments

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A GP clinic in Edinburgh which is changing to a telephone assessment system three days a week has warned its 6,000 patients they could be turned away.

The changes at the Links Medical Centre come into force on Wednesday, May 1.

Links Medical Centre - Leith

Links Medical Centre - Leith

A statement on the website of the medical centre, which is based on Hermitage Place, Leith, says: "Patients requiring to be seen by a GP should no longer come to the surgery on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning but should telephone the surgery on the usual number at 8am and they will be appointed to the triage list.

"Our Advanced Nurse Practitioner or one of the GP's will then call you back and will either deal with your problem over the phone or make an appointment for you to be seen in the surgery.

"In order for our Clinical Staff to prioritise and triage calls efficiently the telephonist will ask for a brief indication of your problem.

"This information will then be relayed to Clinical Staff and will enable urgent problems/conditions to be dealt with in the appropriate manner. The telephonist may also "signpost" you to a more appropriate Health Care Provider who could deal with your problem ie:- chemist, podiatrist, optician.

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"We understand that it may take some time for patients to become accustomed to this new system but we would hope that this new way of working will enable you to see or speak to a member of our clinical staff in a more timely fashion and for your problem/condition to be dealt with in a safe and efficient manner.

"Unfortunately, We do not have the facilities for the number of patients who would usually come to the UPC to wait in the surgery for a callback.

"This is due to overcrowding and confidentiality issues.

"We would ask that you only attend the surgery if you feel your problem/condition is urgent and you feel you require to be seen by a GP without delay.

"Patients requiring to be seen routinely may be advised to return home and await a call from the Triaging Team."

MSP Miles Briggs, health spokesman for the Scottish Conservative Party, said: "Every week it seems the SNP's GP crisis hits a new low.

"A situation where patients are being sent packing is dangerous and could put lives at risk."

In 2015, a crisis team was sent into the under-pressure GP surgery after it was forced to axe 2000 patients.
The Links surgery was taken over by NHS Lothian which works with Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) in 2015 after it failed to replace three doctors and was forced to drop 2,000 patients.

An EIJB spokesman said: "The Links Medical Centre has opted to introduce the triage system to allow its GPs to deal with patients more efficiently and effectively.

"Anyone who presents at the practice with an urgent medical issue will be seen by a GP."