Praise for GPs but wait for appointment is ‘ridiculous’

I refer to last week’s letter regarding the doctors’ surgery in O’Connell Street and have to say that I have attended it for almost 40 years and have never had a problem with any of the doctors in that time.

However, I do agree it is absolutely ridiculous when you try to arrange an appointment it can, on occasion, be up to two weeks before one is available, by which time it could be the undertaker’s services you require rather than the doctor’s.

Obviously there are either not enough doctors in the practice or there is something far wrong with their organisational abilities and whichever is correct it surely cannot be beyond them to sort it out so that the patients do not suffer.

Finally, I wonder why last week’s letter writer wished to remain anonymous? Were they afraid if their name was revealed it may be made even more difficult to get an appointment, in which case I hope that I do not take ill.


WE were saddened to read the recent letter of the week by one of our patients and wish to take this opportunity to address the issues and reach those patients who may not access our services very often.

Your reader suggested that we had an “incredible” new rule regarding result handling but, in fact, the current approach has been in place for about ten years.

Following a test of any kind, the clinician will make a patient aware of roughly when they hope to have reviewed the results by. They make it clear that should there be anything they are concerned about they will make contact directly, usually by telephone. However, if the results are normal and there is no concern for follow-up with a clinician then the GP/nurse will not contact the patient.

This is a common approach by practices. Should a patient be anxious about results and need further reassurance then we do have set telephone times between 12 and 12.30pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday when a nurse is available to help with these queries. We do ask patients not requiring the results service to please avoid ringing at these times.

To date, nurse time has been prioritised for direct patient consultations on Mondays and Fridays due to patient need. For completeness it is worth adding that for X-rays or other scans the GP will either phone or write to patients with results.

For years the practice has volunteered to be part of various health care improvement schemes. A few months ago we became one of 15 practices across Scotland involved in a national pilot project, reviewing result handling within primary and secondary care which we hope will help our patients in future.

All aspects of our service are regularly reviewed to ensure we can deliver the most appropriate and safe approach to patient care with the resources we have. An important review of our appointment system led to the introduction back in 2008 of the clinical triage service. This ensures that should a patient feel unable to wait, due to the seriousness of their condition, for an available routine face to face or telephone consultation, a GP shall ring them back to discuss the problem and, if necessary, arrange for them to be seen the same day. This is now part of the government’s recommended approach to access.

To close, we would like to ensure that all patients know that we welcome feedback on any aspect of our service, supportive or critical, so that together we can deliver a mutually responsible and caring service that is sustainable into the future.


Practice manager

(on behalf of the partners of O’Connell Street Medical Practice)

MY HUSBAND and I agree totally with the comments that Councillor Stuart Marshall mkes on wasting time and public money on the war on dog fouling. The area in which I live is constantly soiled with this mess, and often council employees can be seen hosing down the same area time and time again.

Often we are told education is the best way forward, well I often wonder who it is that needs the education, the council or the minority of dog owners who blatantly refuse to clean up after their pets.

We have only lived in Hawick for a short time and it seems that you don’t have to go far in the town to witness who is actually winning the war on dog fouling (a minority of irresponsible people).

This mess repeatedly appears at the same location on a daily basis, from street corners, bus stops, entrances to schools and nurseries, and riverside walks. And yet we learn from your paper that no fixed penalties were issued in the town during August. That is a disgrace in itself.

As for the council and it’s so-called war machine, start listening to Councillor Marshall and the others who represent us. Stop wasting time and money on education, and start hitting the culprits hard . . . in pocket.

K. and W. HARVEY

Havelock Street

IN response to Councillor Paterson’s verbal attack on Zandra Elliot in last week’s paper, I, and most of the population of Hawick, consider her to have been an excellent provost in promoting our town.

I obviously cannot comment on how many times she speaks in council having no knowledge of this.

Of one thing I am certain, though, and that is when she does open her mouth it will not just be hot air that comes out, but a carefully researched and considered opinion.