New telephone appointment system at some GP surgeries ‘concerning’
The introduction of a new telephone appointment system at some GP surgeries in Upper Bann is a cause for concern, says Sinn Féin.
MLA John O’Dowd said: “I have highlighted on numerous occasions the huge pressure that GPs face and the difficulty patients have in securing appointments.
“I have consistently called for greater investment in GP Services and Primary Care to help alleviate the pressure on them, patients and the wider health service.
“While undoubtedly lessons can be learned from the Covid crisis and the greater usage of technology will feature in health care as elsewhere, it should be to improve services not restrict them.
“Significant changes such as a move to telephone appointments by some GPs, as opposed to face-to-face consultations, as the preferred option when appropriate, needs to be fully thought through by the Department of Health before being implemented by GP surgeries,” said Mr O’Dowd.
“There are several factors which will need to be investigated including Equality considerations and patients should be fully consulted before such a move is implemented. While GP services are independent contractors it is imperative that the Department of Health manages any changes to GP provision.”
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