The Primary Care Centre (PCC) will increase the number of General Practitioners until the end of March to keep pace with not only the increased winter demand on appointments, but to overall increase GP walk-in and on the day appointments and the flexibility of the PCC to meet the needs of Gibraltar.

With immediate effect, locum cover will be provided for extra clinics and these will continue through to March 2018 to ensure all aspects of the winter flu season have comprehensive GP cover. In addition, a further part time GP will start in the PCC with immediate effect to provide far greater capacity throughout not only the winter, but also the summer months.

The PCC will introduce a “See and Treat” style service, where patients can be seen in an area that mirrors the minors area of a UK A&E Department, with nurses and GPs working together to see patients as they walk in the door. This will create not only extra capacity, but also a flexibility that the PCC has hitherto been unable to offer.

Dr Krishna Rawal said: “We are extremely grateful for the increase in clinician numbers. Our GPs and Nurse Practitioners work extremely hard to provide the best level of service possible, but the winter flu season places the PCC under great strain and it is always a deep disappointment for us if we find ourselves in a position where we have no more appointments to offer. These increased resources will give us approximately 280 extra walk-in and on the day appointments for the winter months. I am very excited about the development of the “See and Treat” area, which I am confident will enhance our services.”

Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F. Costa MP said: “The Primary Care Centre is the first port of call and the public face of our health service and it must have the capacity and resilience to deal with demand on appointments throughout the year. Whilst the winter increase in demand is entirely to be expected, we must listen and learn. Further to the various reforms already introduced this year, it is my intention to fundamentally restructure and develop primary care services to the point where we are able to use the new full time GPs to create a service that bridges the gap between primary care and A&E, so that walk in and on the day appointments are always available and patients are never turned away.