Dad’s horror at ‘no GPs mess’

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A dad who claims he was told there were “no doctors” when he phoned Bannview Medical Practice about his son, has said he is horrified at the current “mess” at the Portadown surgery.

The man contacted the surgery last Wednesday after his son’s cough escalated and he started getting a temperature and vomiting.

He said, “Upon ringing the doctor’s I was actually told there were “no doctors” and asked did I want the out of hours to phone me back if it was an emergency.

“I’m not a medical practitioner nor overly dramatic but would take a guess it’s not an emergency; nonetheless I’m horrified in a first world country we don’t seem to be able to provide a basic level of GP service.”

He added, “The out of hours did call me back and faxed a prescription to a chemist of my choice. This is because I was able to describe fairly common symptoms down the phone.”

The surgery is currently without GPs - recruitment has so far proved unsuccessful - and talks have been taking place to try and find another practice to provide cover.

Last week a number of councillors held a meeting with health representatives to discuss Bannview.

Alderman Arnold Hatch of the UUP said, “We received no guarantees... that all patients affected will be able to access a local GP over the next 3-6-month time period.

“This puts more pressure on the out of hours’ service and Craigavon Hospital.”

Meanwhile, advertisements to find a new GP contractor for Bannview Medical Practice are being placed across the UK and Republic of Ireland, the Health and Social Care Board has said.

In a statement released by the board, it said it expects to be able to award the new GP contract within three months.

It added, “The board has also received initial expressions of interest from other GP practices in the area regarding a potential merger.

“We would like to reassure patients of Bannview Medical practice that GP services will continue to be provided at this time. While a telephone triage system is still in place, routine appointments are now being offered via locum GPs in the practice, with additional support provided by advanced nurse practitioners and independent pharmacy prescribers retained by the GP practice.”