Staff shortages lead to delays in patients getting medication

Holt Medical Practice. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Holt Medical Practice. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Staffing shortages at a medical centre in north Norfolk have led to delays in patients getting medication.

The issue has arisen at Holt Medical Practice following the departure of three senior members of staff and the subsequent difficulty of filling their vacancies despite the roles being advertised.

Last week, patients queued up outside the building before it opened on some mornings and afternoons.

This follows the pharmacy's decision to increase waiting time for prescriptions from three to 10 days.

Katie Franklin, business manager, said: “Holt Medical Practice is incredibly proud of the dedication and professionalism of its staff as we continue to work tirelessly to provide excellent healthcare for our patients while acknowledging the current challenges we are facing as a result of the shortage of skilled staff in our dispensary and pharmacy."

She said that recruitment of skilled individuals in north Norfolk has always been a challenge.

"In addition to the national workforce gap in dispensers, pharmacy technicians and clinical pharmacists, the resulting pressure on our remaining workforce is very real", she said.

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She said staff are working "long, additional hours to address the delay between ordering and collection of medication" and apologised to patients for any inconvenience and reduction in level of service.

"We are buoyed by kind words and support from some of our patients and the local community and we will continue to do everything we can to improve the situation," she added.

Other services and access to appointments remain unaffected and the practice is happy to respond to all comments and concerns raised by patients of Holt Medical Practice about the care they receive.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. - Credit: Richard Townshend Photography

Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk, who has been in talks with the practice, said: "Ever since being alerted to the issue, we've been working with Holt Medical Practice to help them by fielding queries with our constituents and passing those back to them to help alleviate the delays at the pharmacy.

"I understand this is a significant concern in an area with a high number of elderly and vulnerable people," he added.