A GP SURGERY in Dunfermline refused to see a patient after they were referred by NHS 24.

Nicola Mizzi told the Press that she had a cough for around eight weeks and was desperate for an appointment at Millhill Surgery.

She faced a two-week wait to arrange one and slated the process as "atrocious".

The 43-year-old filled in a form for the surgery on Woodmill Street and informed them that she'd had a lateral flow test for COVID-19 that was negative.

She said she was told that she'd need to take a PCR test before she could get an appointment.

Nicola took the test on September 9 and the negative result came back the next day.

"I called and was told they didn't have the result so they couldn't give me an appointment," she explained.

"I then tried the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and they still didn't have it and still wouldn't give me an appointment.

"I asked if I could just show the result on my phone but they said no, they had to get the result for themselves, which just seemed ridiculous."

She continued: "On Monday, I phoned and they said my form was still being assessed and they didn't have the PCR test result.

"I called NHS 24 and said Millhil were still refusing to give me an appointment.

"They said it didn't sound like an emergency, so I couldn't go to A&E, but they faxed Millhill to say I should get an appointment.

"I phoned and they (Millhill Surgery) said they hadn't received the fax and the form was still getting assessed.

"They say if you have a cough for four weeks you should get it checked out but that's a joke as they wouldn't see me."

In a fit of rage, she had complained to them that the system was a "f****** joke".

The surgery sent a letter to her, rebuking her for being abusive.

"I can't breathe, the cough is just ridiculous, I've got mental health issues, I can't get an appointment and they gave me a warning about my behaviour," Nicola said.

"I'm absolutely disgusted with the whole process of trying to get an appointment. It's been shocking."

After contacting the Press, she said she received a call and was given an appointment for the next day.

"They still didn't have my result but they said I could show the text confirming the negative PCR test, which I could have done two weeks ago and they said I couldn't do that," she said.

"I can hardly walk to the toilet without finding it hard to breathe. I'm bringing up phlegm and blood as my throat got really aggravated.

"I'm diabetic and I've got asthma so I'm in a high category for COVID but I very rarely go out – Asda for the shopping is about it.

"I'm not out clubbing and going to pubs as everyone else seems to be doing.

"I also have depression so they offered me an appointment with a mental health nurse over the phone but she can't diagnose my cough or check my chest, she can't check my wounds or change my tablets over the phone so what's the point?

"I've had an operation under my arm and it keeps bleeding and getting infected so I need the dressings changed too.

"While I'm glad I've been seen I'm still really annoyed at the whole process of getting an appointment.

"The way they dealt with it was atrocious."

She added that an x-ray was planned and she was to receive steroids, but added: "At least they're doing something but I've really had to push for an appointment and I still obviously don't know what the problem is.

"It could be serious and that's two weeks I've had to wait when I could have had a diagnosis and known what's going on.

"If I can save someone else from going through this it'll be worthwhile.

"Another two weeks to someone with an undiagnosed serious illness or someone with cancer could be a nightmare."

In response to Nicola's experience, Dr Helen Headwell, associate medical director for the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Medical practices in Scotland continue to operate within national guidance to limit the numbers of patients attending practices at any given time to reduce the opportunity for vulnerable patients to catch COVID-19. Medical practices are independent contractors and are each responsible for their own appointment systems.

“Face-to-face appointments remain a key element of the service provided by general practice with more than 10,000 appointments carried out in this way each week in Fife and these continue to increase as restrictions ease.

“Much like the rest of the country, medical practices in Fife remain under considerable pressure due to a rise in the numbers of patients requiring care and treatment and they are working extremely hard to meet the demand for face-to-face appointments, supported by online Near Me consultations.”