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Prestatyn GP's 'help us help you' plea, as services face unprecedented demand

A former Prestatyn High School pupil has returned to his roots to lead one of North Wales’ largest GP practices.

Dr Judah Eastwell recently returned to Prestatyn after training in medicine and working as a GP in London and Manchester.

The former Prestatyn High pupil, who grew up in Dyserth, has joined Healthy Prestatyn Iach as its new Clinical Lead GP.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board managed practice is one of the largest in North Wales, serving 19,900 patients.

Dr Eastwell has spoken of his delight at returning to his Denbighshire roots, while setting out some of the challenges currently facing the practice, and the ways that patients can access the most appropriate care.

“After working in London and Manchester it’s been my intention to return home for a number of years,” he said.

“I’m delighted to be back in Prestatyn and I’m looking forward to becoming part of the community here.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care services are facing a range of challenges. These include the long-standing problems of recruiting staff, a huge increase in demand for GP appointments, as well as the challenge of providing ongoing care to patients who are waiting for hospital procedures that had been put on hold because of the pandemic.

“There are also specific COVID-19 related challenges, such as having to limit access in person because of social distancing. We are also using telephone triage and online support, which some people can find difficult to access.

“There are patients who have put off coming to us because they think we’re not open. Some have also been put off because the queues on the phone are so long. These are all things we are trying to address.”

Dr Eastwell is urging Healthy Prestatyn Iach patients to choose the most appropriate service for their needs.

He said: “We are still very limited in the capacity we have in the surgery. In order for us to be able to offer that capacity to those who need it the most, we ask people with minor symptoms or symptoms that have only just started to consider getting online advice through the NHS 11 Wales website, or waiting to see if their symptoms settle by themselves.

“They can also visit their local pharmacy to receive advice on treatment for common ailments, conditions and their symptoms.

“We’re also asking anyone who can use a computer, tablet or smartphone to contact us online, via the E-Consult system on our website, and then wait for us to contact them back. That will free up the telephone lines for those people who cannot use a computer.

“We are working to streamline the E-Consult process to make it more efficient, so people don’t have as long to wait before they are contacted.

“By following these steps, you can help ensure that as many people as possible receive timely and appropriate care.”

For further information on how to access the most appropriate healthcare services please visit the BCUHB website: https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/services/where-do-i-go/