Extended Access – Local GP practices working together to offer more convenient appointment times for patients
Since 1st October 2018 we have been part of a network of practices (known as ‘hubs’) in south Shropshire, working together to offer patients ‘Extended Access’ to pre-bookable appointments - in the evenings, at the weekend and during bank holidays.
Part of the national agenda by NHS England, Extended Access means patients will be able to make pre-bookable appointments to see a GP, practice nurse, or other qualified healthcare professional, at a time which may be more convenient for them.
The ‘hubs’ take turns to provide the Extended Access appointments to patients. This means patients could be offered an appointment at their own surgery or at a nearby practice in the local area (part of the hub). Patients will be advised about appointment location at time of booking, enabling them to make an informed choice about their where and when they access care.
Locally the pre-bookable appointments are available as follows:
- Weekday evenings (Monday to Friday)
between 6.30pm and 8pm (at a local area hub)
between 8am and 1pm (at a local area hub)
Arranging a pre-bookable evening or weekend appointment is easy to do - patients simply need to contact us, during normal opening hours, and speak to the practice receptionist or a member of the practice team who will be able to help. Appointments may not be with your registered GP but will be with a GP or other qualified healthcare professional.
Extended Access adds to the existing range of healthcare services already available in Shropshire to help patients, including pharmacists, NHS 111, the walk-in centre, minor injury units, and A&E (which is there 24/7 for life threatening serious emergencies only).
It isn’t always necessary to see a GP for minor and common conditions - find out more about how to self-care for these types of conditions on the Self-care section of the NHS Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group website (https://shropshireccg.nhs.uk/health-advice/selfcare/).
It is important to be aware of how long common conditions should take to clear up and always seek medical advice if you are unsure or if you feel it is an emergency.
Information to help patients understand more about Extended Access is available on the NHS England website, visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/gp/gpfv/redesign/improving-access/.