As you may be aware, Dr Jerry O’Rourke retired in February 2018 and Dr Alex Thain will retire in June. Whilst we will miss them greatly, and we will need to replace them as clinicians, that provides us an opportunity to improve the way that we provide your Primary Care service.
Patients present to the GP with a variety of problems; some fairly simple problems, such as a rash or sore throat, through to more complex conditions. For an initial visit, often it is not necessary to see a GP; indeed, to pass all of the simple ailments to a GP would waste valuable GP time. Some illnesses are self limiting, for example, a cold should clear up in a week to 10 days and, unless there are other factors involved, it is not necessary to see your clinician. Other minor illnesses can be alleviated with self help and advice/over the counter medication from a local pharmacy.
For other illnesses/conditions, those for which you feel that you really need to see a clinician, a Nurse Practitioner or a Clinical Pharmacist is more than qualified to deal with most of them, referring anything more complex to the GP. As an example of such a system, if you present at A&E, it will be a non-Doctor clinician, Usually a Nurse Practitioner, that conducts the triage to decide how urgent your case is and by whom you will be treated.
After very careful consideration, we have reached the conclusion that such a ‘triage’ approach to our ‘On The Day/Urgent’ appointments would serve our patients best; therefore, we plan to expand our Advanced Practitioner team from 2 to 3 clinicians by recruiting a second Nurse Practitioner. The Advanced Practitioner team will deal with most of our house calls and all requests for ‘On the Day’ appointments; so, if you request an appointment for the same day it will be one of the Advanced Practitioners that deals with you initially. A Duty Doctor will manage the team and be on hand to review any patients that the Advanced Practitioner feels need to be seen by a GP.
We are making this change to our team to improve the service that we give to you, our patients. We hope that it will free up the GPs to spend more time with patients when that is needed, to review patients in a more robust manner, to give the GP more time to chase referrals and more time to liaise with other departments/organisations on behalf of their patients to manage their care; thus giving a safer, more efficient service. Many surgeries have adopted this approach already; it isn’t something new, just new to Cairn.
Many of you will have seen our existing Practitioners, Gordon and Stuart, already and know how good their service is; however, if you have any concerns then please speak to your clinician the next time that you are at the practice.