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'Relentless negativity' is hitting primary care morale and recruitment hard, warns Highland GP as Covid-19 testing landmark reached

By Hector MacKenzie

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Dr Ross Jaffrey warns morale and recruitment being impacted by 'relentless negativity'.
Dr Ross Jaffrey warns morale and recruitment being impacted by 'relentless negativity'.

FALSE claims about patients being unable to see GPs is having a negative impact on morale in the primary care sector with a knock-on impact on recruitment in already challenging circumstances.

That's the warning today from a Highland GP who has been monitoring the coronavirus crisis since the first lockdown and sharing hygiene messages aimed at helping slow the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Ross Jaffrey, who has patients in Muir of Ord and Beauly has also been involved in the successful rollout of vaccination clinics in the area.

In his Safe hands, Saves Lives bulletin, he noted the landmark 10 millionth test for Covid-19 in Scotland.

Acknowledging that "incredible achievement", he said: "We have never tested a virus so relentlessly."

But he added: "We can test as much as we want, or so it appears, unfortunately we cannot do the same for hospital beds, the staff required to enable them in order to match the current demand for treatment.

"Much being made of GPs not seeing patients face to face (which is not true) as the root cause of the current hospital crisis. If an A&E doctor thinks a patient needs admitted, pretty sure a GP would arrive at the same conclusion.

"It is important to contact your GP with symptoms of concern at an early point. Primary care needs your support, in extreme circumstances this relentless negativity - highlighted and fuelled by certain media outlets - will result in the loss of your local practice. This is a very real threat for some communities. Not only is this eroding morale in challenging circumstances, it is making recruitment within primary care significantly harder."

Many took to the comments of the Facebook post to back his remarks and share their own experience of seeking help from GPs.

Rona Campbell posted: "The GP surgery I am fortunate enough to registered with is superb. This is Southside Road in Inverness. I also had cause to briefly visit the health centre in Stornoway recently. Also superb. I try to make sure the staff involved in my care know how much I value it. I do not struggle to see anyone if I need to. At all. Thank you for the updates."

Sheila Kerr observed: "My take on it is that phone calls with GPs can be valuable to both parties. If GP thinks they need to see a patient face to face, they’ll make that appointment- if it’s something that can be resolved without, so much the better. Less time taken up by everyone, particularly those that have to travel miles to get to their surgery."

Tina Mackenzie stated: "Thank you. Nowt wrong with the service provided at my practice, Muir and Beauly. When I needed a face to face it was always offered promptly. Haven't got a problem with a phone call first either. If it can be dealt with without going to the practice, great, it saves time for every body and gets someone that really needs it in to see the doctor. All good. Think everybody has done a marvellous job under extreme pressure. I'm grateful."

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