Free Press opinion: Just where do you take your loved ones when they can't get a quick GP appointment?

Health seems to have been a big issue in Doncaster over the last week.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 6:15 am
The A&E department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary DRI ER accident and emergency

For hundreds of Doncaster families, it has been a subject in the forefront of their minds, after outbreaks of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, which appears to have swept much of the borough.

The first indications that there was an issue began late last week, when schools in the east of the borough began to contact parents telling them not to bring their children to school on the Friday.

Both Trinity Academy and Long Toft Primary School closed for the day due to the large numbers of pupils struck down by the illness. Teachers also suffered from the disease.

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Both schools carried out deep cleans to try to make sure there was no longer a health risk at their sites.

Speaking to residents, it appears that the illness was pretty widespread. Parents of children who attend other schools in Thorne also told of how their youngsters were gripped by the bug, with high temperatures.

Situations like this put schools in a difficult situation. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

If they close, they are sometimes accused of forcing parents to make alternative arrangements at short notice to look after their children. But if they remain open, they are accused of putting the children at risk of illness.

In the same week, the NHS has raised concerns about record levels of people attending A&E at the Donaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust’s sites.

Surprisingly, bearing in mind the situation at some schools, they do not think norovirus has been a factor. It has just been general demand.

But the result of the soaring attendance has been a call for people to only visit A&E in an emergency.

In another health-related story this week, it was revealed it took hours for an out-of-hours service doctor to manage to attend a patient during the recent floods crisis.

The combination of these different stories show the problem the public faces. That is where do they go if they cannot get a quick appointment with their GP?

For many of us, A&E will always beckon when no other quick options are available for our loved ones.