A Dundee diabetic man has hit out at his 11 week wait for vital blood pressure medication after delays caused by changes to GP services.
Peter Davidson, 76, who also has skin cancer and high blood pressure, says his situation highlights the weaknesses of attending Care and Treatment Centres instead of local GP practices.
Care and Treatment Centres offer a range of services to allow GPs and practice nurses time to focus on patients with complex health needs and conditions.
Mr Davidson encountered weeks of delays for essential tests he needed to receive blood pressure medication.
He explained he ran into problems following a spell in Ninewells Hospital at the end of March for an operation on a broken femur.
“My mobility was very limited. The ward staff advised me they had stopped my blood pressure tablets and I should contact my GP for a reassessment of my medication.
“I contacted my GP who advised me I should make an appointment with a Treatment Centre for a blood check.
“I was housebound and not mobile and had to wait until May 12 to attend a Treatment Centre.”
He was surprised his blood pressure wasn’t also taken at the same time as his blood test.
And after checking with his GP, he was told that was also required, meaning he had to arrange another appointment at a Care and Treatment Centre.
System ‘not in best interests of patient’
“I couldn’t get an appointment before June 10 — a wait of another four and a half weeks.
“It’s a slow silly process and the onus is on the patient. I’m well organised and usually have a few weeks of medication left as I’m putting in my repeat prescription but that wasn’t enough.
“I had to phone my doctor to say I’m not happy with this and I’m now running out. Luckily he did provide a prescription at short notice.
“This new system is not in the best interests of the patient and I am not confident that I am receiving treatment to meet my conditions.”
Mr Davidson said making appointments with his GP previously made the process faster.
Breaking the link between communities and their GP surgery was another issue with the new system highlighted by members of the Auchterhouse community.
“The old system meant the GP had the patient history and knowledge to react quickly and efficiently with the patient.
“I have to say the Treatment Centres do not appear to be busy despite a reportedly long waiting list.
“For many years now I have been well cared for by my GP. I could also arrange a check at the practice with only a few days’ notice.
“In addition to the unreasonable delay in securing an appointment there is now the burden of additional travel as we are being offered a choice of Treatment Centre each with different lengths of waiting lists.”
Teething issues in ‘developing service’
A spokesperson for Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership apologised to Mr Davidson for the delay.
They said: “Demand for appointments has been high which has meant some patients have had to wait up to four weeks for routine treatment appointments.
“In response to this and to help ease demand, the service has allocated additional pre bookable and urgent ‘on the day’ appointments to each clinic.
“Patients can book appointments up to 12 weeks in advance either by telephone or whilst at the clinic if a further appointment is required.
“It is important patients share details of all the treatments they require with the dedicated administration team at the Centres to ensure they are allocated a suitable appointment.
“This is a developing service and Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership is continuing to explore all areas of the service to improve it and ensure patients receive the right care at the right time by the right person.”
Patients on low income and in receipt of certain benefits can claim reimbursement for public transport from clinic staff but need to produce a copy of their benefits and a valid bus ticket.
The option of providing volunteer transport for those with mobility issues is also being investigated.