DCSIMG

Trust working to increase out of hours cover

The Doctors on Call, Out of Hours service. INLM02-114gc

The Doctors on Call, Out of Hours service. INLM02-114gc

The Southern Health Trust has apologised after patients waited for more than five hours to speak to a GP at Craigavon’s out-of-hours service recently.

One concerned resident contacted the Times to complain that she had contacted out-of-hours by telephone on 
behalf of her elderly mother-in-law on a Sunday afternoon.

However, it was only after another telephone call and a five-hour wait that a doctor 
finally rang back.

The trust apologised for the delays, revealing that out-of-hours had catered for 1,449 patients that weekend.

It now says it is working to increase the number of GPs working during busy weekends in March.

A spokeswoman said, “The trust is unable to comment on individual cases but would be happy to speak to the lady if she contacts the trust.

“We would like to apologise to patients for the inconvenience caused by the delay in receiving a call back from the GP out-of-hours service over the past weekend.

“The GP out-of-hours provided a service to 1,449 patients. The service gave 
priority to patients with 
urgent medical conditions and those less urgent patients, 
unfortunately, had longer times to wait for a call back.

“The trust is working to increase the number of GPs working over the busy 
weekend periods in 
March.”

The trust says it has already been introducing specially trained nurses into the service to “provide 
telephone advice” and to “manage face to face consultation 
where appropriate”.

“We want to assure residents that the trust remains fully committed to providing the GP out-of -ours service.

“We are working with the Health and Social Care Board on the capacity within the service to meet the needs of patients and working through options to manage the 
service safely across the trust.”

 

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