Good news ahead for GP appointments
Patients will soon benefit from more GP appointments in the evenings and weekends - a move which has to be seen as good news.
Having to take time off work to see the doctor can be a stressful experience for a number of reasons, even for those of us with flexible hours. The strain on the NHS is well-documented and even if you are successful in securing an appointment on the day you want it, you can easily be waiting for several hours due to limited resources, or meetings overrunning. That’s even if you feel comfortable enough, or have a boss who is compassionate and understanding enough, to go to the surgery in the first place. You hear plenty of stories of workers are feeling under more pressure than ever before to clock in even when they’re feeling unwell or suffering pain. So extending that window into the evenings and weekends will come as a huge relief to a large number of patients. This is, of course, under the assumption there is enough staff to meet this increased demand within each of the surgeries participating. It’s easy to forget the GPs and staff themselves are already under incredible pressure, and the last think they need is an increased workload. The CCG, which plans healthcare locally, insists the extra appointments will be provided in seven ‘cluster areas’, where GP practices work together. Funding of the NHS has long been something of a political football and this appears to be a real step in the right direction for patients. The service will need to be closely managed and monitored, to ensure that all the necessary resources are there for those both working, and receiving care and treatment.