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North-east MSP raises concerns over GP appointment times

By David Porter

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A north-east MSP has raised concerns to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about Aberdeenshire patients not being able to book a face-to-face appointment with their GP.

Scottish Conservative north-east MSP Tess White said it was vital that “normal service resumes” after being contacted by constituents who are having to fight “tooth and nail” to get a doctor’s appointment.

At First Minister’s Questions, Ms White explained how it took a 79-year-old man a whole week to be granted permission to see a doctor in Aberdeenshire about his diabetes.

In her reply, Ms Sturgeon acknowledged the situation, saying it was “not an acceptable experience”.

Ms White asked the First Minister: “I have a constituent with significant health issues who had real problems getting to see an actual GP.

“It took two hypo episodes, three eConsults and four telephone calls over one week before an appointment with the GP was obtained and he did have a computer.

“Will the First Minister be able to say when surgeries can see patients in person namely those who need to see a doctor and don't have access to a computer to complete an eConsult online form?”

In her response, Ms Sturgeon said: “GP practices have remained open during the pandemic although they have had to change the way they cater for patients.

“They continue to provide clinical care, making more use for NHS Near Me and telephone consultations but we are very clear where clinical necessary, it must always be an option to have a face-to-face consultation.”

Ms White added later: “The current system which is in place is simply not good enough to support patients, especially the most vulnerable who don’t have access to a computer.

“Normal service has to resume again otherwise the Scottish Government risks placing people in a precarious position regarding their health.

“It shouldn’t take a whole week for a patient to be granted access to their doctor which is simply unacceptable.

“Patients are fighting tooth and nail for something that should be readily available to them.”

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