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Out-of-hours delays due to a lack of staff.

Stuart McFarlane Staffing shortages forced patients to wait longer for out-of-hours treatment over the weekend across the region.

The restricted number of staff available to cover meant that patients were asked by the health board to understand any potential delays.

The out-of-hours cover mainly provides non-urgent medical care outwith normal GP operating hours, with the period between 1pm and 11.30pm on Saturday being earmarked as most likely to face delays.

The manager of the out-ofhours service, Di Anderson, said: "Our challenges around staffing a service which runs overnight and at weekends are well documented. We are currently pursuing measures to address the situation.

"It's only right that we make people aware of the current situation and we would ask that people support the service by always considering whether their medical need is urgent, requiring immediate attention.

"If in any doubt, we would advise that someone contacts the appropriate service. If it is an emergency they should take the usual, appropriate course of action, such as dialling 999.

"If your situation requires nonurgent medical assistance, we would ask you to contact NHS 24 by telephoning 111 for advice and if appropriate will be triaged to see a GP in the Out of Hours Service."

Members of the health board were told recently that difficulties in recruiting staff is to blame for soaring costs.

And NHS chief executive Jeff Ace highlighted the problem to Holyrood's health committee saying: "The biggest cost improvement that we can make is addressing our recruitment challenges because we're paying a considerable premium at the moment for locum medical staff and nurse agency costs."

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Publication:Dumfries and Galloway Standard (Dumfriesshire, Scotland)
Date:Aug 20, 2019
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