The Health and Social Care Board has been made aware of a number of recent incidents in the Portaferry, Ballywalter, Ballygowan and Belfast areas where someone claiming to be a doctor or other health professional has contacted patients by telephone to ask questions about their medical history and current medications and has then tried to sell them alternative therapies such as seabuckthorne or Omega 3 and Omega 7 oils.
The caller has claimed a link to the patient’s GP Practice – for example, claiming to be undertaking a patient survey on behalf of the patient’s Practice. In some instances, the caller has tried to arrange a visit to the patient’s home. On occasions, patients have been asked to verify their personal information using the data recorded on their credit cards.
Patients should note that GP Practices do not contact patients in this way nor do they try to sell patients medication or request credit card information.
If you have received such a call or are unsure about a call you receive, please contact your local GP Practice or report the incident to your local PSNI.
Dr Margaret O’Brian, Assistant Director, Integrated Care, Health and Social Care Board, said:
“We would encourage people, particularly elderly people, to be vigilant about calls that they receive and not to give out personal details, particularly information on their credit cards.
“GP Practices do not contact patients in this way nor do they try to sell patients medications. If you have any concerns, please contact your Practice or report the incident to your local PSNI.”