New GP hours nearly ready

Health news from the Peterborough Telegraph -
Health news from the Peterborough Telegraph -
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GP surgeries in Peterborough could stay open for more hours from later this month.

The £2.6 million Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund was announced in April and will allow patients to see their GP from 8am-8pm during the week.

Under the changes, GP surgeries will group into hubs with one surgery from each hub opening every weekday evening.

Patients contacting their surgery or 111 will then be able to book an appointment at the practice in their hub which is open late.

Discussions by health professionals have been ongoing over the past few months to finalise the new arrangement.

And according to a report by Jessica Bawden, director of corporate affairs at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, the new service is hoped to be launched in July.

The report was submitted to Peterborough City Council’s Scrutiny Commission For Health Issues.

Around 253,000 patients in the Peterborough, North West Cambridgeshire and East Northamptonshire constituencies will be affected by the new opening hours.

Although Peterborough has a GP shortage, it has been said no surgeries will shut.

The new system is said to involve using other primary care staff to deal with some appointments and introducing pharmacies at GP practices.

Dr Gary Howsam, co-chair of the Peterborough Primary Care Transformation Board, said: “We’re in the process of confirming which practices will work together and how each ‘hub’ will make their extended early morning and late evening appointments available to their patients.

“This is a new way of working for all our practices, but an exciting step forward in turning our vision of how local GPs can improve access to GP services into a reality in the very near future.”

He added: “This is just one element of our vision as our plans to improve local primary care services also include using innovative new technologies to offer patients access to GP services seven days a week.

“We want to ensure GP primary care services are consistent across the patch and are sustainable and more resilient for the future in the face of challenges around workforce, and an increasing population and demand on services.”