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Health / Lerwick Health Centre struggling to meet demand for appointments

Lerwick Health Centre. Photo: Shetland News
Photo: Shetland News

A “SIGNIFICANT staffing shortfall” at Lerwick Health Centre is resulting in staff being unable to meet demand for appointments.

Dr Dylan Murphy said there has been an “unusually high demand over recent months, which has been noticed in other practices across the country too”.

“As a result, we are very short of being able to meet the demand for appointments at the moment,” he said in a Lerwick Health Centre Facebook post.

“The clinicians are already working well beyond capacity.”

NHS Shetland primary care manager Lisa Watt said it was viewed as a short-term problem, which is in part due to staff off on leave and sickness absence.

The introduction of the online triage Ask My GP service last year had enabled the centre to eliminate a four to six week wait for appointments.

But Dr Murphy said: “We have unfortunately seen a significant increase in the amount of minor illness being presented, which shortens the amount of time the clinicians can spend dealing with conditions which benefit from medical attention and tests the resilience of our team”.

He said steps patients can take to help the situation is to “look a little more closely at self care using reliable sources such as NHS Inform and consider self managing symptoms which do not suggest a serious underlying condition”.

“Of course, if you believe your symptoms may indicate a significant condition, please do get in touch and we will screen your message and try to prioritise those with the most concerning symptoms,” the doctor added.

The NHS Inform website can be found here.