Like many of my GP colleagues I do regular sessions for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde GP Out of Hours service, writes Dr Isabelle Cullen.
This is the service which is available for emergency GP care when surgeries are closed: that is evenings, overnight, weekends and bank holidays.
It provides advice and appointments for urgent matters which your GP would usually deal with and cannot wait until your GP surgery reopens.
It is accessed by calling NHS 24 on 111. Attendance is by appointment only.
Like daytime GP, Out of Hours has had to adapt during the pandemic.
When you phone NHS 24 with an enquiry you will often be directed to further triage.
This means a doctor or ANP (Advanced Nurse Practitioner )will call you back to assess your problem.
Often patients are happy to be advised – knowing they can call back if necessary.
Sometimes we can arrange an emergency prescription with a local pharmacy to avoid someone having to attend.
Occasionally we may suggest patients attend Accident & Emergency directly.
When a face to face consultation is required we will now arrange an appointment at a specific time at one of the Out of Hours Centres.
For patients in the West End the closest centre is usually at Stobhill Hospital. There are also centres at The New Victoria and Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
Once again our priorities are patient and staff safety. We stagger appointments to reduce footfall through the clinical areas.
PPE is worn for all patient contacts and rooms are cleaned after every use. We also ask that patients wear a mask when attending.
The team work is phenomenal in the centres. Clinical staff are very well supported by brilliant admin staff, cleaners and security staff meaning that patients are seen as quickly as possible.
The Christmas and New Year bank holiday weekends are notoriously busy times for all NHS emergency services. GP services are prepared for this.
That said, I hope that you are all well over Christmas and New Year.
- Dr Isabelle Cullen is a general practitioner based at 130 Hyndland Road. You can follow the surgery on Twitter @DrCullenSurgery or visit the website cullensurgery.gp.scot.