Changes to out of hours service

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NHS Tayside is moving to a new model of out-of-hours healthcare which will see the service operating from a specialist out-of-hours base at Kings Cross Health & Community Care Centre in Dundee.

Dr Michelle Watts, Associate Medical Director for Primary Care, said: “The out-of-hours service in Tayside, in common with other OOH and day time general practice services across Scotland, has been facing significant pressures in providing an appropriate level of cover for patients due to a national shortage of GPs.

“This is a particular issue over the busy summer holiday period when shifts are more difficult to fill due to annual leave commitments.

“To address these challenges, NHS Tayside will temporarily consolidate the out-of-hours service at a single base which will allow us to better plan and co-ordinate the service across all areas in Tayside. This change will take effect from Friday, 26 June.

“There’s no change to how patients should contact out-of-hours services and if, following that medical needs assessment, any patient requires to see a doctor or other healthcare professional, NHS24 will arrange for either a home visit, the patient to be seen at a local healthcare facility or, in some instances, the patient to travel to the specialist Primary Care Emergency Centre at Kings Cross in Dundee. Assistance with travel there will be provided as required.

“We also have many Minor Injury & Illness Units across Tayside and they will continue to operate as normal for people with minor ailments. Local community pharmacists can also offer advice to patients for many conditions.

“The Primary Care Emergency Centre in Perth will not operate overnight and at weekends for this temporary period but we will ensure that patients can be seen locally where appropriate and can be assisted to travel to the Dundee Primary Care Emergency Centre when necessary. There will be no change to the existing arrangements for patients in Angus which currently operates a similar model.”

NHS Tayside’s out-of-hours service continues to engage with the National Review for Out-of-Hours Services led by Sir Lewis Ritchie and as part of this process will actively engage with local communities to provide a sustainable future model of care.

Over weekends, public holidays and overnight, when GP surgeries are closed, the out-of-hours service and A&E departments see a significant increase in attendances, some of which could be dealt with elsewhere.

Therefore, it is very important that members of the public access healthcare services in a responsible way, both in- and out-of-hours, to make sure they get the right treatment, at the right place, at the right time.

Top tips for the right treatment:-

· Self-care is the best option when you have a minor illness or injury. There are many alternatives to A&E and the out-of-hours GP service and going directly to the person with the appropriate skills is important. This can help you to a quicker recovery and makes sure all NHS services are run efficiently.

· Drop into your local pharmacy to get expert advice or information on healthcare, as well as help with your medicines. Your pharmacist can recommend a wide range of medicines to treat minor problems which don’t require a GP such as coughs and colds, minor wounds or burns, or aches and pains. You can get information about all pharmacies and their opening times by contacting NHS inform on 0800 224488. You can also find a list of pharmacies open on public holidays on our website at www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk

· NHS inform is an information service, giving you general advice about illnesses, tests, treatments, operations and services. Visit www.nhsinform.co.uk or call 0800 224488.

· NHS24 can arrange for you to speak with a GP, nurse or mental health nurse based in Tayside or North-East Fife when your own GP is closed and you are in need. They will also arrange for you to see a GP if required or direct you to your local Minor Injury & Illness Unit if you live in a rural area. Call NHS24 on 111.