Dr Darin Seiger, GP Chair at NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group, writes about the introduction of the new extended access service for routine GP practice appointments.
We know that accessing an appointment at your GP practice can, at times, be a tricky proposition. That is why we are delighted to announce that our extended access service has now gone live across Northamptonshire's Nene practices.
After a lot of hard work between the CCG and the committed staff at our member GP practices and federations, patients can now book routine appointments with a GP or other appropriate clinician at a time more convenient to them.
This includes evening and weekend appointments being available.
We have commissioned this new service as we want to make accessing a routine appointment as easy as possible for our patients.
We want to make it as convenient as we can for patients to get the health care they need, when they need it and extended access should provide that.
Having extra appointments available at times when many people will have finished work or find it easier to get to a GP practice means they hopefully will not have to rearrange their commitments to be able to see a doctor or clinician.
The service is being delivered by a collaboration of GP practices in the area. If a patient wishes to attend an extended hours appointment, they may need to travel to another local GP practice or a central hub and may not necessarily see their own GP.
It is thanks to our practices working together that we are able to offer a total of 334 hours of additional appointments per week in the Northamptonshire area.
Patients will need to check with their practice when the appointments are available as this may differ slightly between practices.
The extended access appointments are available until 8pm on weekdays and there are a number of appointments available at weekends, Bank Holidays and over the Christmas and Easter periods.
Extended hours appointments are for pre-bookable non-urgent appointments.
For urgent matters outside of these hours, patients will continue to access the GP Out of Hours Services via NHS 111.
I would like to thank everybody involved in delivering the extended access service across Northamptonshire and hope that patients will experience the benefits of it when they next need to see a GP or clinician.
For further information can be found on how this works in your area.