Mother’s concern after son turned away by G.P. surgery

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A “CONCERNED” Forfar mother contacted the Dispatch and Herald to highlight problems her son experienced when he was turned away from the GP surgery he has been registered with all his life - because he now lives in Carnoustie.

The woman, who did not wish to be named, explained her 23-year-old son was later diagnosed with a virus but only after enduring an agonising delay for treatment after complaining of “excruciating” pain in his head (see full details on our letters page on page 21)

On the morning of the incident, at around 7 a.m., the woman’s son’s partner contacted NHS 24 who in turn said they would contact his GP at the Academy Street Medical Centre.

What followed, according to the mother, was a “complete farce”.

Because her son was still registered with the Forfar centre but lives in Carnoustie - which is over the practice’s 10-mile radius - he was not allowed to be seen by a doctor.

He had initially gone to Arbroath Infirmary but was told no doctor was available to see him. He was then advised to go to his doctors - which he did.

However, when he turned up in Forfar, he was turned away as he now lives in Carnoustie.

His mother said: “They turned him away. My worry is, what if he had been a child or an elderly person who became ill and they were under the impression that, as they were still registered with the practice, they would be seen?

“My son moved out to live with his girlfriend in Carnoustie but was still registered with the Forfar doctor. I presumed he could still be registered with his doctor and they would have all his medical files.”

The woman has made an official complaint to both NHS 24 and the Academy Street Medical Centre.

She added: “I think common sense should have prevailed.

“My son will not be the only one who thinks they can stay with their family doctor if moving somewhere else in Angus.”

When asked to comment on the incident and the 10-mile radius, Diane Meek, office manager at the Academy Street Medical Centre said: “In accordance with our GP contract regulations, the practice area has been set at a 10-mile radius and only in very exceptional circumstances would the GPs consider allowing a patient to stay on their list outside of this area.

“Angus is a large area and if patients outwith the 10-mile radius required a home visit we are mindful of the time implications of this on GP availability to the rest of the patients in the practice.

“Our practice website informs patients that we do have a 10-mile practice area and we do ask that when patients move from our area that one of the first things they should do is register with a local GP.

“Obviously there will be times when this is not possible and we do try to be flexible should an emergency occur.

“I hope this clarifies our contractual obligations for having a practice area and the importance for patients to register with a local GP.”

When asked to comment on Friday a spokesperson for NHS 24 said: “The family have contacted us today and we will be responding directly to them regarding any concerns they have about the care provided by NHS 24. We will not be able to give you any comment.”