Sixteen brand new Skoda Estate Octavia 4x4 Scout vehicles are making sure our out-of-hours doctors are staying on the road this winter.
The cars have now been rolled out across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde fully fitted out with IT equipment so our doctors can access patient records in the vehicle while drivers get them safely to the visit.
The cars, leased from Henrys Skoda Glasgow, have already helped out in bad weather last week and have been very well received by the GPs and drivers who use them.
Clinical Director of the out-of-hours service Dr Norrie Gaw said: “The new cars have been very well received by both our doctors and drivers. During any one day over the festive period our service expects to do in excess of 350 home visits. Those who are terminally ill and the frail elderly population require home visits and others who have acute life threatening conditions are seen at home.
“Last year the severe weather conditions were challenging with doctors and drivers risking treacherous conditions to reach the vulnerable at home. All visits were completed but this year we have increased the safety of our clinicians and drivers and hope to be able to respond without un-necessary delay due to severe weather.
“It’s always a real concern having staff out on the roads trying to see patients in those conditions. With snow already appearing again this year, we’ve already been glad to have the new cars. We are very grateful to Henry’s Glasgow which allowed our IT people and engineers to go into their workshop to install and set up the on board computer system in the car.”
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Last year’s winter was one of the most severe ever seen in Scotland so it is important that we well are prepared for the festive period to help keep our NHS moving.
“This new fleet of cars is a tremendous example of how health boards across Scotland are ensuring they are well equipped for dealing with severe weather. These cars will enable out-of-hours doctors to ensure those who need to be seen at home continue to receive the care and treatment they need, whatever the weather.”
While most patients manage to attend one of the nine well equipped Primary Care Emergency Centres in Greater Glasgow and Clyde or receive telephone advice from a doctor for their health concerns, it can be a very lonely time for many of our patients. Add to this, a physical illness and it can lead to significant anxiety and concern for both patient and doctor.
At any one time over the festive period the out-of-hours service can have up to 62 general practitioners working in the service at any one time.
Dr Gaw added: “Although GP surgeries are closed, we are extremely fortunate that a significant number of well trained local GPs make themselves available for their patients over the festive period.”
Keith Sampson, corporate sales manger from car dealers Henrys Skoda Glasgow said: “We are delighted to be have been able to get the out-of-hours docs kitted out with their new cars. We’ve been proud to support the out-of-hours service for a number of years with all their transport requirements to help them deliver this excellent service.”
Notes to editors
Anyone who requires the services of a general practitioner in the out-of-hours period for a condition which cannot wait until your own GP is available should call NHS 24 tel: 08454 24 24 24. The nurse advisor will arrange for you to be seen by a doctor if required.
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