Paramedics have been attending home visits at weekends and evenings in place of GPs and nurses, as workforce shortages begin to bite out-of-hours service rotas in North Wales.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health board said there had been difficulties finding staff, with the North Wales Out-of-Hours Service writing to GPs appealing for volunteers to staff the weekend’s rotas.
The letter from the out-of-hours service warned of shortages over the weekend of 1 and 2 August, and noted GPs should prepare for increased demand on Monday morning.
But, in a statement, the Health Board said the position had improved since the appeal, adding: ‘Although there are a number of shifts which we are still trying to fill, the service has the support of paramedics who are able to carry out home visits and also has the option of offering patients appointments at the neighbouring service in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
‘Nationally there are difficulties with recruiting GPs and nurse practitioners due to shortages of applicants amongst both staff groups and this issue affects North Wales.
‘This can cause particular problems at this time of year when a number of colleagues are taking annual leave during the summer holiday period.’