The NHS gets a lot of flack from all sorts of sources, and the media tend to delight in hi-lighting the terrible experiences people have had with the NHS, including horror stories about people being left in trolleys in A&E, people not being able to get access to Doctors out of hours

Over Christmas, my 15 month old daughter caught a nasty virus/cold that knocked her for six, and we ended up calling our local surgery out-of-hours. Several times.  Our surgery participates in the local out-of-hours scheme, where there is a central number to call, they take your details & a Doctor calls you back.  On each occasion we had a call back within the hour.  On each occasion the Doctor was friendly & helpful.  On each occasion we ended up taking Zoe to the out-of-hours clinic to be checked, after being given a specific appointment time.  

  1. One the first visit, we were seen almost exactly on time, given a prescription and told which chemist near us was open and able to complete the prescription.  We had the visit, prescription fulfilled and were on our way home within the hour.  This was on a Sunday 28th December.
  2. Our second visit, we were seen within 10min of our time slot, given a slightly stronger antibiotic, which the Doctor made up there & then as it was late and we wouldn’t be able to find an open chemist until the morning.
  3. The third visit was much the same, seen within 10min of the time slot, Zoe was thoroughly checked over & we were advised to finish the current course of medication.


The out-of-hours clinic is 15min from our house, there’s plenty of parking, the staff are friendly, the staff there are who the out-of-hours telephone number goes to.  

Craigavon Area Hospital & Lurgan Medical Practice, hats off to you, your system works, you were there when we needed you and you delivered a service you should be proud of.  I for one am glad that my income tax is being spent wisely.

More noise needs to be made when the NHS does something right, constant negativity is only self fulfilling.

I’m fully aware that this was fairly simple primary care, and that things get a lot more complex with serious medical conditions, but that why I choose to pay for medical insurance that covers these major things.  Having a service that’s available 24 hours during the holidays when you have a sick child is a mind saver, if not a life saver.