Out-of-hours GP ac­cess ex­tended

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page -

IN­VEST­MENT from lo­cal CCGs and NHS Eng­land means that 82% of peo­ple in Lan­cashire and South Cum­bria have ac­cess to evening or week­end GP ap­point­ments, the health ser­vice says.

Ex­tended GP Ac­cess is part of the na­tional strat­egy to mod­ernise pri­mary care ser­vices and re­duce pres­sure on busy A&E and am­bu­lance ser­vices in the evenings and at week­ends.

In Lan­cashire and South Cum­bria, ac­cess to evening and week­end GP ap­point­ments has been fully opened to all peo­ple liv­ing in Black­pool, Fylde and Wyre and Black­burn with Dar­wen.

In ad­di­tion, peo­ple liv­ing in West Lan­cashire and some parts of East Lan­cashire, Cen­tral Lan­cashire and More­cambe Bay can ac­cess ad­di­tional ap­point­ments, with plans for full ex­tended GP ac­cess for the whole pop­u­la­tion by March 2019.

GP prac­tices in the re­gion are al­ready ahead of the na­tional tar­get for 50% of the pop­u­la­tion to be able to ac­cess evening and week­end ser­vices by March 2018.

In 2017/18 more than £8m has been in­vested lo­cally and na­tion­ally by NHS Eng­land to make ad­di­tional GP ap­point­ments avail­able, ris­ing to more than £10.5m in­vest­ment planned over the next year.

Dr Kieran Mur­phy, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for NHS Eng­land for Lan­cashire and South Cum­bria, said: “We know how vi­tal GP ser­vices are to our lo­cal com­mu­nity and pub­lic sat­is­fac­tion with ser­vices re­mains high.

“How­ever it is im­por­tant that ser­vices adapt to the chang­ing ex­pec­ta­tions and needs of lo­cal peo­ple.

“Be­ing able to book a GP ap­point­ment for af­ter work or at the week­end will make sure that busy fam­i­lies and peo­ple who work can get help and treat­ment when they need it.”

The way peo­ple can ac­cess the evening and week­end GP ap­point­ments varies de­pend­ing on where they live.

In some ar­eas, pa­tients can make ap­point­ments through their surgery or may be di­rected to call a dif­fer­ent num­ber to book.

All evening and week­end ser­vices are de­liv­ered through hubs ei­ther in a nom­i­nated gen­eral prac­tice or health cen­tre.

In­for­ma­tion about lo­cal ex­tended GP ac­cess ar­range­ments is avail­able on CCG web­sites or via GP prac­tice re­cep­tion staff.

Dr Mur­phy added: “I think this is a re­ally pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment for lo­cal peo­ple. It is a re­ally good ex­am­ple of GP prac­tices com­ing to­gether to de­velop so­lu­tions to en­sure that peo­ple can book GP ap­point­ments when they re­ally need them.

“With ap­point­ments avail­able un­til 8pm in the evening’s week­days and avail­abil­ity on Satur­days and Sun­days, this will make a real dif­fer­ence, es­pe­cially to those who work Mon­day to Fri­day.

“I would en­cour­age lo­cal peo­ple to look at their CCG or GP web­site or con­tact re­cep­tion staff to find out how to book an ap­point­ment.”

Book­able GP ap­point­ments are on top of emer­gency out of hours GP ap­point­ments, avail­able through NHS 111.

Med­i­cal di­rec­tor Dr Kieran Mur­phy

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