‘Extended access appointments are now here’
Sarah-Jane Mills, chief operating officer at NHS Lincolnshire West 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 Lincolnshire West practices.
After a lot of hard work between the CCG and the committed staff at our member GP practices, patients will be able to book routine appointments with a GP or other appropriate clinician at a time more convenient to them.
This will include evening and weekend appointments being available.
We have commissioned this new service ahead of a deadline imposed by NHS England 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 this extended access should provide that.
Having these 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 GP practice 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 122 hours of additional appointments per week in the Lincolnshire West 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 will be available until 8pm on weekdays and there will be a number of appointments available at weekends. They will also be on offer on Bank Holidays and over the Easter and Christmas periods.
Extended hours appointments will be for pre-bookable non-urgent appointments. These include for chronic illness, asthma checks or medicines reviews.
For urgent matters at evenings and weekends, patients will continue to access the GP Out of Hours Services at Lincoln County Hospital via NHS 111 or the Minor Injuries Unit at John Coupland Hospital.
I would like to thank everybody involved in delivering the extended access service across Lincolnshire West and hope that patients will experience the benefits of it when they next need to see a GP or clinician.