Wareham Surgery bans advanced GP appointments
A GP surgery in Dorset has stopped patients from booking advanced appointments due to a lack of doctors.
Wareham Surgery said its "revised system" comes after one GP went off on long-term sickness with a broken hip and another resigned in March.
It said a lack of response to a GP vacancy meant it could only offer on-the-day appointments, which can only be booked during certain hours.
Speaking in the Bournemouth Echo, one patient described it as a "crisis".
The surgery, which is currently using locum GP cover, has asked patients to call to book between 08:30 and 10:30 for a morning appointment, or between 14:00 and 16:00 for an afternoon appointment.
"Depending on demand" it said it may not be able to provide an appointment, which would mean patients calling back the following day.
Healthwatch Dorset said the situation was "simply unacceptable".
"We understand the difficulties they're facing at the Wareham practice, but that doesn't alter the fact that their new appointment system means that patients can't book an appointment with their GP in advance," it added.
An NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spokesman said it was in talks with the surgery and it was hoped the situation would change at the end of the month.
He said the CCG had set up the Primary Care Workforce Centre with Bournemouth University and Health Education Wessex in April last year in a bid to find "innovative ways to address the recruitment challenge with not only our trainees and future workforce supply, but also our current workforce".