Patients all over the borough of Southend have been celebrating today after it was announced that ALL GP surgeries in the area will become drop-in centres from 1st April 2016. The news will come as a shock to many people who have been concerned about the closure of St Luke’s Surgery as a drop-in centre from the beginning of April, but the decision means that all patients will be able to drop-in to their local GP surgery and book an appointment during regular opening hours at their own convenience. 

Sir Niles Miles is the clinical clinician for the Southend Clinical Clinicians Clinic Confederation, and he made the announcement earlier today at a specially-arranged gala lunch event inside the Cliffs Pavilion. Excitedly, he said: ‘We are delighted that the people of Southend will be able to drop into their registered GP surgery at any time and book an appointment – many of these patients will then be able to see their doctor within 7-10 days. We want to discourage people from just turning up at A&E whenever they feel a bit odd, and so this revolutionary change to the drop-in arrangements in Southend will make a massive difference.’

Sir Niles added: ‘Patients should also be aware that there are now a variety of different websites that can predict when you are going to be unwell, and these can be used in conjunction with some good old-fashioned forward planning when it comes to booking a GP appointment. Also, if you know in advance that you will be taking part in a risky activity like running or base jumping, why not book an appointment the day after? If you think you may be seriously injured, please make arrangements to go to A+E instead to ensure that the GP slot is used as effectively as possible.’

A Chalkwell based GP, whose name has been changed as he wishes to remain anonymous, wants patients to use the 111 phone line whenever possible. He said: ‘These phone lines are manned by healthcare professionals who are capable of assessing a situation with just a few simple questions. If necessary, they can also talk you through a range of vital medical procedures if it will take a while for an ambulance to arrive. Just last week, a 5-year-old girl from Ashingdon was able to give her mum a full tracheotomy with just a Bic pen and two sheets of Andrex before assistance arrived – it was like that scene in Airplane when he talked him through landing an aircraft with no casualties whatsoever.’