Harrogate GP calls on patients to take more responsibility to tackle coughs and colds

Dr Rick Sweeney.
Dr Rick Sweeney.

A Harrogate GP has welcomed the Local Government Association’s (LGA) decision to highlight the number of unnecessary GP appointments taken by patients.

The LGA is calling on patients to consider visiting a local pharmacy, supermarket or using NHS websites before booking a GP appointment.

The Association suggests that almost one in ten appointments are taken by patients complaining of a blocked nose.

Dr Rick Sweeney, Harrogate District CCG Lead for Vulnerable People, said: “Our GPs and A&E departments are already overstretched yet many appointments are often unnecessary.

“Our GPs and A&E departments are already overstretched yet many appointments are often unnecessary.

"A large number of conditions a GP sees can be treated by over the counter medication, freeing up much needed appointments for those patients who really need them.

“If people were able to treat these common ailments, each GP in the NHS would have approximately six additional appointments available every day to treat patients in need of medical help.

“The NHS needs to work on building patient confidence to look after their own minor illnesses and educate patients about which over the counter medication should be used rather than them making a GP appointment. Many patients will find that their GP recommends they go and purchase an over the counter medicine anyway.”