Cumnock's Tanyard Muirkirk Medical Group is asking patients to look at self-referrals as a way to deal with the pressures they are under.

They are also asking anyone with illnesses that are "not severe" to try the pharmacy as a first port of call.

The centre has felt the pressures of the pandemic, with staff shortages adding to the issues.

Residents have regularly complained about the waiting times for appointments and phone calls to the centre.

READ MORE: Cumnock health centre asking for public's help in stamping out covid issues

Patience from patients is again being asked of by the centre, as it copes with the struggles of the winter.

Dr Amin, on behalf of Tanyard Muirkirk Medical Group, said: "The past few weeks have been extremely difficult for us due to a huge increase in demand which is to be expected with the winter, but on top of that we have had to deal with staff absences which are a lot worse than usual due to covid-19.

"We’ve also had to help out with Covid and flu booster vaccination programme.

"This week has been exceptionally busier and some of you may have noticed this by not being able to get through to the phones because our phone lines have not stopped ringing".

"Can we please therefore ask you and gently remind you of other ways to get help:

• If your or your relative’s illness is minor and not severe or serious then we would ask you to try the pharmacy first (see link in comment) in the first instance.

• Any musculoskeletal problems (joints/muscles aches and pains) then please do a self-referral to our physiotherapist via our website (I will attach link in the comments).

• For mental health issues you can self-refer online to our mental health practitioner.

• And of course remember opticians and dentists for urgent eye, oral and dental problems.

"We thank you very much for being so understanding."