Bourne Hereward Practice to axe Monday sit-and-wait clinic when new doctor starts
A doctors' walk-in service will be axed at the end of this month to coincide with the arrival of a new GP.
Patients at the Hereward Group Practice in Bourne are currently offered a sit-and-wait service on a Monday morning.
The three-hour open access clinic allows people to turn up without an appointment and wait to be seen, but the last session will run on August 26.
The following week Dr Penny Miller will join the practice, increasing the number of routine and telephone appointments available to patients instead.
The surgery currently has six GPs and the waiting time for a routine appointment is three weeks - in line with the national average.
Practice manager Tracey Mason: "When we first started the open access service we saw small numbers of patients and it was manageable, but more and more people are now choosing to use it.
"Some people like it, some hate it. None of us like to see so many people in the waiting room with standing room only."
Half of the patients who attend the Monday morning service are seeking advice on medication or questioning whether they need to see a doctor.
Some of the issues could be resolved with a telephone consultation.
Dr Miller will work three full days at the practice, offering around 30 face to face appointments each day.
Mrs Mason said: "We've been looking to recruit a new GP for a long time but there is a national shortage.
"Dr Miller will be able to offer more routine appointments which should help to bring the wait down for people.
"Over time we hope to bring that back to a more acceptable time of around 10 days, but it won't happen overnight.
"Having an extra GP will make it easier for everyone to share the workload and it's good to bring a fresh face to the practice.
"We hope this will be a positive change."
Dr Miller trained at the Hereward Practice in 2001. She has a particular interest in cancer care and palliative care.
The nurses will continue to offer the acute illness service.
Patients can call up for advice on conditions such as minor infections for same-day advice and treatment if required.
Receptionists are asked by GPs to question patients on their symptoms in order to recommend the most appropriate appointment.