"Dr's emergency appointment system"

About: Newport Lhb

(as the patient),

In spring I damaged a tendon in my ankle. After 4 months all seemed fine until recently when my ankle became very swollen and extremely painful. I left it a couple of days to see if it would resolve itself which it hasn't.

Telephoned the Surgery in Newport to get an emergency appointment.

Receptionist asked me for details of what was wrong with me and then told me the nurse is not in and did I think it could wait until tomorrow.

I then advised the receptionist that I didn't know as I'm not medically trained (the ankle is getting bigger every day and the skin is now very tight). The reply - well if dr doesn't think it's urgent they will send you away and tell you to come back the following day. A normal appointment isn't available for 2 weeks hence my request for an emergency appointment.

If a dr's surgery puts in this type of system for triaging emergency appointments then surely they have a duty to ensure a nurse specialist is available?

No wonder A&E departments are overflowing.

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Response from Aneurin Bevan Health Board

Hello Coco1,

I am sorry that it has been necessary for you to raise your concerns on the Patient Opinion website about the care of your ankle and the difficulty you experienced trying to obtain an emergency appointment with the practice.

Across Aneurin Bevan University Health Board all practices, as independent contractors, have their own policies in place within the context of the General Medical Services (GMS) Contract to provide access to a health professional within 24-hours and operate between the hours of 8.00am and 18.30pm.

Many practices operate a mixture of "open clinics" and “pre-bookable appointments”. Open clinics allow patients to either ring or attend the surgery in the morning and be seen by a GP or Nurse. This is not determined as an emergency, but a way of patients being able to access a GP every day without pre-booking appointments. Where practices operate "booked appointment" systems, they still need to provide appropriate access if patient feels they need to be seen.

Each practice manages appointments within the confines of the contract and therefore they ensure patients have the ability to pre-book appointments, usually up to 4 weeks in advance, however this does vary across practices. This does not necessarily mean you would have to wait up to 4 weeks for a pre-booked appointment. In relation to urgent appointments, any patient that feels they need to see a healthcare professional (GP/Nurse) should be able to access an appointment within 24 hours. If a Nurse is not available then you are entitled to see a GP depending on the nature of the problem.

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