WE are pleased that we have filled the evening and overnight GP Out-of-Hours shifts at Prince Philip Hospital tonight, meaning the service can run as usual.

However, despite our significant efforts, we have not been able to fill the GP Out-of-Hours 6.30pm-11.30pm shift at Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, this evening. Anyone who is unwell should contact 111 as usual, where you will be advised on the best form of care for your need. A GP will be available to provide telephone advice, and the Minor Injury Unit at the hospital remains open until 10pm.

From 11.30pm onwards, Out of Hours GPs will be available at both Glangwili Hospital and Prince Philip Hospital. Regardless of rotas anyone in Carmarthenshire who is unwell and needs to see a GP should call 111.

Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations Joe Teape said: “I would like to apologise for any concern or inconvenience caused due to ongoing staffing issues in the Out of Hours GP service. This is currently a familiar trend among other health boards across the country. We know that all of our staff and GPs are working really hard to provide safe services for our patients and we appreciate this. We are working together across the whole health board area and across different services to provide a safety net for our patients.”

In the instance of rotas not being filled, other health care services such as minor injury units, 111 and community pharmacy, continue to be available. If after a telephone based GP assessment has been completed and someone needs to see a GP face to face they may be asked to travel to a neighbouring county within the Hywel Dda region to see the nearest available GP (the nearest available GP which may be Glangwili or Prince Philip Hospital if one of the rotas can be filled, or Withybush General Hospital, Haverfordwest, or their nearest alternative GP as instructed by 111 operators).

The health board continues to work closely with GP partners across the area to try and resolve this situation. Currently none of the rotas at our other hospitals have any additional capacity to offer. We will work closely with partners such as the Welsh Ambulance Service and the 111 service, who will be able to advise any patients who call according to their clinical needs.

If you live in Carmarthenshire and are unwell out of hours during the evenings and weekend you can do a number of things:

* for health information and advice, including online symptom checkers, please visit NHS Direct Wales: www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk
* call 111 – they can help to signpost you to the right service, for example a GP, nurse, pharmacist or Minor Injury Unit, they also provide health information on a wide range of conditions for self care if appropriate
* use your community pharmacy, some of these have enhanced services like ‘triage and treat’ for treatment of minor conditions, including Burry Port Pharmacy
* for a minor injury, you can visit Prince Philip Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit, which is open 24/7
* ONLY in an emergency for serious or life-threatening conditions should you dial 999

Mr Teape added: “The public’s health is our number one priority and although we sometimes cannot achieve everything that we want to achieve, we are doing our utmost to ensure that we can continue to provide services that are safe and robust for our local communities.”

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