The Gore Medical Centre is reorganising the way patients who need to see a doctor urgently can receive help.
The new system is called GP Triage, which is a process that allows a doctor to sort people according to the urgency of their need.
General manager Alison Wilden said that in the past, the practice ran an acute doctor/nurse clinic for those urgent cases where a patient needed to see a doctor as soon as possible.
However, this system was not as efficient as it could be.
“One of the problems with it is that patients often have to wait for a very long time to be seen by the GP.
“They won’t always get seen by their own GP or someone that they know,” Mrs Wilden said.
Under the new GP Triage system, people could ring the practice at 8.30am and ask to see a doctor that day.
“If it’s urgent for the day, reception will tell them the doctor will ring them back between 9.30am and 10am.
“The doctor will triage them to see if they are urgent for the day or if they can help them over the phone.”
Doctors would also be available to make phone calls to patients at 1.30pm.
“Patients who ring up after 10 o’clock will go on to the 1.30 triage list.”
There were spaces left in the timetable for doctors to be able to see the urgent cases.
Walk-in appointments would no longer be available after May 6.
In a medical emergency patients should phone 111.
Usually there was a two to three-day wait for patients to see a doctor about non-urgent health concerns, Mrs Wilden said.
Doctor Andrew Ure has been trialling the new method for the past three weeks and is impressed with the results.
“For people to be able to talk directly to a doctor and either get a prescription or a medical certificate or a specific time that they will be seen that day – people really appreciate that,” Dr Ure said.
About half the patients he had spoken to had not needed to come into the practice.
“We’ve been able to manage things on the telephone. Sometimes that’s just advice and reassurance and for those that have had to come in, they don’t need to sit an hour in the waiting room.
“They are getting seen when they need to be seen.”