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Telephone sick notes free up appointments

Over 700 appointments a month at the Primary Care Centre are being freed up following the sick notes and repeat prescription service reforms.

The measures were introduced earlier this year with the aim of alleviating GP appointment spaces.

The telephone sick note reform has seen over 200 appointments a month saved. The initiative means patients no longer have to see a GP to receive a certificate of sickness.

Patients using the telephone sick note service are limited to one sickness certificate every three months, meaning that any further certificates need to be completed in person.

“The telephone sick certificate service has been an extremely exciting and positive to an overall and continuing review of primary and secondary healthcare services,” a Government spokesman said.

“There is no doubt that this modern and innovative solution has not only reduced the impact on attendance in A&E and the PCC, but has also improved significantly the management of minor self-limiting illnesses and created better patient choice.”

The repeat prescription service reform has also saved a number of appointments.

The new system allows patients to request a repeat prescription of their regular medications without having to book a further appointment with a GP. Patients can present their final prescription to the Repeat Prescription Desk to request further medications.

The idea behind these initiatives was also to relieve pressure on Accident and Emergency as at the time of the reforms around 330 people a month were attending A&E for a sick note.

“A&E have reported a noticeable reduction in the number of patients seeking certificates and the GPs have noticed far less patients attending emergency clinics simply for the issue of certificates,” a Government spokesman said.

“Of course we must gauge the success of this reform in context with other primary care initiatives launched earlier this year including the repeat prescription service. These two reforms alone are currently saving over 700 GP appointments a month which is close to the equivalent of having another GP working in the Primary Care Centre.”

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