A staffing crisis at a Pembrokeshire surgery which has led to calls for an investigation is being tackled.
As the Western Telegraph reported last week, the news that there would only be three GPs at Tenby Surgery from the end of this month was being viewed with concern.
With the town without its minor injuries unit and a 60,000-plus summer population, the surgery admitted to MP Simon Hart that the situation was ‘a serious state of affairs.’ The surgery and Hywel Dda University Health Board have now issued a joint statement revealing that ‘actions are being taken to address its current recruitment challenge in the light of a UK shortage of GPs.'
The statement continued: “The surgery is currently facing a staffing challenge due to the departure of some GPs and this is compounded by the national shortage. It is hoped that the situation will be short-term.
“The health board is now working closely with the practice to find quick solutions and a number of opportunities have already been identified. These include: •Use of locum practitioners. The practice has already retained one GP to work on Wednesday and Friday mornings and a nurse practitioner to work on Monday and Friday •Greater use of health board staff with the practice, especially during the summer influx of visitors and to ensure patients who need to be seen at home are assessed quickly.
•Reviewing how the practice currently manage demand for appointments to ensure that clinically urgent and same day appointments are seen first.
These actions will be implemented over the next three weeks.
“Further work is ongoing to find the longer term solutions, this includes: •Working with the Deaneries to review the placements for GPs in training.
•Developing a group of GPs employed by the health board to be available when practices experience workforce challenges.
•Commissioning new nurse training to allow them to undertake enhanced roles within general practice.
•Developing other services to give patients more choices for accessing healthcare - for example, visiting the community pharmacist or optometrist.
Said Helen Roberts, practice manager: “We would like to assure patients that we will continue to deliver safe patient care within the Tenby area and that the health board are currently supporting us to resolve these current challenges as quickly as possible. If any patients have individual concerns, we would ask them to contact the practice to ensure timely resolution and response.”