Shropshire out-of-hours GP service faces record calls

A record number of people have contacted Shropshire's out-of-hours GP service, according to the county's clinical commissioning group (CCG).

On Saturday the Shropdoc service received 600 calls in 24 hours, double the normal level.

Karen Morton, head of the Shropshire CCG, said there were particular peaks during the afternoon and evening.

She said it meant waiting times of up to five hours for some patients wanting to speak to a doctor.

"Shropdoc are dealing with the calls but they are triaging them - quite rightly dealing with the most urgent first," Dr Morton said.

"We usually put on additional call handlers and doctors over the Christmas period, knowing people will call the out-of-hours [service] because GP surgeries are closed, but we've seen unprecedented levels.

"The vast majority of calls were for routine problems, in particular requests for repeat prescriptions and for minor ailments."

She urged patients with repeat prescriptions to go direct to pharmacies, which she said could also offer advice on treatments for flu or coughs and colds.

"That would allow the doctors at Shropdoc to handle the calls for people who are very unwell and they need to get to urgently," she said.

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