Dumfries and Galloway NHS Out of Hours Service in Drive to Maximise Resources

CHANGES are taking place to the NHS Out of Hours service in Dumfries and Galloway – in a drive to maximise all available resources.

Patients seeking help from a service which provides medical cover outside of GP practice hours will now be asked wherever possible to travel to a designated Primary Care centre, rather than rely on staff coming to them.

NHS  Service  Maximise Resources
Out of Hours service Clinical Lead Dr Nitin Desai has explained how people will be directed to visit Primary Care centres, in a drive to maximise all available resources
Dr Nitin Desai is a GP and the Clinical Lead for the region’s service, and he said: “At the moment there is a staffing problem within the Out of Hours service, and it’s particularly difficult in the west of the region.
“We are having to take measures to assess the needs of patients who are calling the Out of Hours service to try and get as many people as possible to come to us to be seen – rather than doing home visits.
“Naturally, home visits take an awful lot of time because of the distances involved for our doctors to travel.”

As before, the Out of Hours service will be accessed in the first instance by telephoning NHS24 on the free 111 number.

Details will be taken, and the person will be asked if they can travel to a designated centre – which will be either the Emergency Department at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Dumfries, Newton Stewart Hospital in Newton Stewart or the Emergency Department at Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.

Transport can be arranged if required, with home visits now generally being reserved for those people who are restricted to bed or who have end of life care needs.

A national shortage of GPs is being experienced at present, with a particular impact on rural areas.

Recruitment initiatives within Dumfries and Galloway have seen some success. Work is also continuing on supporting other health professionals such as highly-trained nurses, pharmacists and paramedics to play increased roles in the service, reflecting approaches seen within Emergency Departments.

Dr Desai said: “I think it’s important that people show a collective responsibility for both themselves and for other people who are in a similar situation.
“So that if it’s at all possible for you to come to us then do so, because that will mean that you’re saving that doctor’s time for someone else who may be more critical or who may not be able to come to an Out of Hours centre.”


To contact the Out of Hours service, phone NHS24 on 111.




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