"The Surgery is closed and I am unwell. What do I do?"
Don't Panic. There is always someone you can contact. Brora and Helmsdale Medical Practice is contracted to provide general medical services between 0800 - 1800 Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. Outside of these hours the emergency out-of-hours (OOH) service operates. This is accessed by calling NHS 24 (08454 24 24 24). A trained nurse advisor will take your details and problem, and depending on the nature of your concern, will:
Arrange for a nurse/GP to call you back with advice/reassurance
Arrange for you to have an appointment with a GP at your nearest OOH Primary Healthcare Emergency Centre (PHEC). Your nearest centre is at Golspie.
Arrange, if the clinical situation suggests it is necessary, for GP Home Visit
If your feel there maybe a life threatening emergency the most sensible thing to do is call 999 and request an ambulance.
"Ive got a toothache/dental abscess. Do I need antibiotics from the GP?"
No, you need to see a dentist urgently. A dentist will make a full clinical assessment and can prescribe any antibiotics/painkillers you may need, but more importantly may be able to undertake any dental surgery that can save a tooth.
Doctors are not trained in dental assessment and guidance from their regulatory body (the General Medical Council, (GMC)) is that they should direct all patients who present with such problems to see a dentist and not undertake treatment themselves.
Our practice policy is that we will not prescribe antibiotics for dental problems and will instruct you to see a dentist. We will give you pain relief to cover you for a short period until you see the dentist only. If you need to see a dentist and are not registered with one, call the dental emergency helpline 0845 6442271. They will be able to arrange an emergency dental appointment, usually within 24 hours of your call.
"The doctor said I needed a fasting blood test. Why, and what does this involve?"
Some blood tests can be taken while you are seeing the GP; where possible we do this to save you time. However, for some tests to be accurate (blood sugar tests, fats in blood) we need you to have fasted before a booked blood test with the practice nurse. This means no food or drinks (including tea, coffee, diet fizzy drinks as these often contain caffeine which can elevate blook sugar) other than water for at least 12 hours prior to your blood test appointment. This will ensure we get an accurate sample for testing.