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GHA ramps up access to primary care appointments

Pic: Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Health Authority has increased the number of face-to-face appointments with GPs and Nurse Practitioners at the Primary Care Centre as part of a gradual return to normal service after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout the entire pandemic, face-to-face appointments continued to be available but at a reduced level.

People who were clinically assessed as needing in-person appointments were always offered one, the GHA said.

But as the number of appointments is further increased, “a level of caution” is still required and some safeguards must remain in place to avoid over-crowding in waiting areas and in the PCC in general.

Additionally, telephone consultations will still continue to be offered, especially where face-to-face appointments with a GP are not necessary.

The GHA said it understands that some patients may not have had contact with their regular GP for many months and will be keen to book an appointment.

It expects an initial surge in demand for appointments that may exceed availability for the first few weeks.

The GHA appealed to the public for “continued patience and understanding” when accessing primary care services, adding that, in time, all patients will be able to access their GP of choice and resume attending to their primary care health needs on a regular basis.

“I am delighted that the GHA is now in a position to be able to increase the numbers of face-to-face appointments available at the Primary Care Centre, as we cautiously resume regular GHA services,” said Samantha Sacramento, the Minister for Health.

“I would like to thank all the staff at the PCC, to whom the whole of Gibraltar owes a debt of gratitude, for their tireless work on the frontline of this pandemic.”

The announcement was welcomed by the GSD, which had last week raised concern about access to primary care appointments.

“It is clear that the Government has now finally listened to the voices of the many in our community who have been calling out for face-to-face contact with their medical practitioners,” said Elliott Phillips, the GSD MP who shadows the health portfolio.

“Whilst we welcome the statement by the GHA, we will be closely monitoring the restoration of primary care so as to ensure these services are at the top Government agenda.”

Anyone who needs to book an appointment at the Primary Care Centre should call 200 52441 or 20007007 MyGHA for telephone consultations.

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