A Renfrewshire resident has hit out after a leading Paisley medical practice urged patients to steer clear in the run up to the Easter weekend.
The medical centre, in the town’s Lonend, urged patients to stay away due to a “severe staff shortage”.
Abbey Medical issued the warning to patients in a round-robin text message sent on Thursday morning.
In it, surgery bosses said: “Unfortunately, due to severe staff shortages Abbey Medical Center will be running on strictly emergencies only on Thursday 14th April.
“Please only contact us if your illness is urgent and requires medical attention. We will resume as normal on Tuesday 19th April after the Easter Public Holiday.”
The disgruntled patient, who did not want to be identified, told the Express: “The NHS are telling everyone to stay away from hospitals and everyone knows that the A&E at the RAH is under-pressure anyway. You read that hospitals are telling you to stay away and go to your GP and then you are told to stay away from them as well.
“What are people supposed to do if they are ill? It’s getting to the point where there’s nowhere to go. It’s the Easter weekend and Abbey Medical Center is telling them not to see them today and they won’t be back open until Tuesday.”
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The fuming patient added: “They tell you to phone NHS24 and there are well documented problems with that service as well and people hanging on the phone for hours. It’s getting ridiculous. It’s not even winter. Everyone knows the NHS talks of winter crisis but they don’t even have that excuse.
“I don’t understand why the Scottish Government keep telling people how much money they are putting into the NHS and boasting about what they’re spending and about how they have more staff now than ever and this is the result when you want to see to doctor.
“Someone somewhere is not getting it right.”
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has issued recent pleas urging residents to stay away from hospital A&E departments unless their condition is urgent or life-threatening.
They say a rise in covid cases and issues with delayed discharge of clinically well patients have left their sites at capacity.
We have been telling since last October how staff leaders at Paisley’s struggling Royal Alexandra Hospital say there are “chronic” shortages amongst hard-pressed staff who are “on their knees” after battling on through the pandemic.
Unison leaders at the RAH pleaded with GPs last October to see more patients, saying telephone and video consultations were failing to sufficiently reassure residents and resulting in them clogging up A&E departments which are already struggling.
A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “There are well established provisions in place to ensure our patients receive the care they need over public holidays. For GP services, if your practice is closed and you have a health concern which can’t wait until it opens again, you can contact NHSGGC’s GP Out of Hours Service by calling NHS24 on 111.”
Abbey Medical Center declined to comment.
The Scottish Government’s Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, told in March how covid cases were once again having a “significant impact” on the NHS, adding: “This level of pressure impacts on patients and staff and I want to start, firstly by thanking our NHS and social care staff who owe a huge debt of gratitude to and who are continuing to provide vital treatment and optimal patient care during some of the most challenging times.
“And also to patients, and those who have in any way been either inconvenienced or who are suffering because of the current pressures. I have no hesitation in apologizing for that suffering and for that inconvenience and I appreciate the patience that every person is showing at this extremely challenging time.”
He told how his SNP administration has invested in growing the NHS workforce by just under 10 per cent in the past two years to help services deal with new pressures and boasted of a “record £300 million of new investment to help services”.
They also say £11 million being poured into “national and international” recruitment campaigns over the next five years, as well as asking health boards to recruit 1,000 Agenda for Change staff to “provide additional capacity across a variety of health and care services” – earmarking up to £15 million for the task.
But critics point to the length of time the SNP Government have held office at Holyrood and say their plans do not go far enough fast enough.
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