Doctors tell sick to stay away

PATIENTS at a busy surgery are today being asked to book appointments "only if absolutely necessary" because of a shortage of doctors.GPs at the practice say there is no need for people with coughs, colds and sore throats, or those wanting repeat prescriptions, to see a doctor.

PATIENTS at a busy surgery are today being asked to book appointments "only if absolutely necessary" because of a shortage of doctors.

GPs at the practice say there is no need for people with coughs, colds and sore throats, or those wanting repeat prescriptions, to see a doctor.

The appeal for patients to be patient has been made to people registered with the Haven Health surgery in Felixstowe, which is short of three doctors – due to sickness and maternity leave, and one having left and not yet been replaced.

Practice manager Stephen Litherland described the problems as a "serious situation" and hoped patients would be understanding.


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Currently Dr Karol Silovsky , Dr Mairi Wilson and Dr Peter Ramsden, together with the nurse team, are covering a patient list of 6,700 usually covered by six doctors at the surgery in Grange Farm Avenue.

"This is putting the remaining doctors and our nurses under extreme pressure," he said.

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"Where possible, we are employing locums as often as we can to assist our clinical team.

"This also means that the number of appointments available is greatly reduced."

The surgery has written to all households registered to ask that patients book appointments "only if absolutely necessary", and asking people to request repeat prescriptions in writing, and speak to the pharmacist or NHS Direct about common illnesses/ailments such as coughs, colds and sore throats.

"It is not our intention to discourage very ill or concerned patients from requesting appointments, rather to make best use of the limited number of appointments available," added Mr Litherland.

To help ease the burden of work on the clinical team, and help them deal with paperwork, the surgery would be closing on Wednesdays afternoons – after 1pm – until further notice.

Dr Silovsky would also not be doing telephone consultations during the coming months and reverting to routine appointments, which can be booked in advance or on the day.

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