to routine GP services set to extend to evenings and weekends
with long-term health conditions, young people and shift workers
are just some of the people expected to benefit from a planned extension
to the availability of appointments at Somerset's GP Practices.
Practices across the county have extended the times when appointments
are available into the early evening and at weekends with a range
of primary care clinicians.
The scheme fulfils a pledge made by the government in 2015 to improve
access to primary care services, which they believe could eventually
improve access to as many as seven million patients a year across
All of Somersets 71 GP Practices are currently contracted
to deliver primary care medical services in core opening
times from 8.00am until 6.30pm.
this new national scheme patients registered at a Somerset GP practice
will now also be offered appointments from 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Monday
to Friday and some appointments over the weekend.
There are 10 groups of between 3 and 13 practices in each local
group in Somerset working together to deliver this improved access
to routine appointments at evenings and weekends for the local registered
staff working evenings and weekends will have access to the patients
medical records and will be able to provide the same high standard
of care as patients would expect during normal opening times.
Patients who wish to book a routine appointment in the evening or
weekend can do so by telephoning their own GP Practice receptionist
from Monday to Friday between 8.00am and 6.30pm.
The receptionist will advise them of the time and location of their
appointment. Patients will be advised at the time of booking that
they may not be able see a GP or health professional of their choice
and may need to attend their appointment at a neighbouring GP surgery.
Dr Ed Ford, a GP and Chairman of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning
Group, said: "Extending the availability of primary care appointments
to the evenings and weekends should be a significant change for
those patients who find it difficult to attend a primary care appointment
during the day time."
Somerset CCG wishes to remind people that the extension to routine
GP services at evenings and weekends does not replace the current
Somerset Out-Of-Hours Urgent Primary Care Service.
If patients or their family members become ill overnight or at the
weekend and need medical advice or help outside of opening times,
they should continue to call NHS 111.