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More GP appointments for Hyndburn patients

An innovative new scheme has been launched in Hyndburn to increase the number of GP appointments available to patients in the area.

Patients registered with Hyndburn GPs are able to benefit from the evening and weekend appointments, known as Extended GP Access, in a system set up and run by local GPs to improve access to GP services.

Every GP practice in Hyndburn is involved in the new system.

It means that patients can make an appointment by telephone or face to face through their GP practice to see a GP or other healthcare professional from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm at night during the week, and from 10 am to 4 pm on a Saturday and 10 am to 2pm on a Sunday.  

The appointments available in these extra weekday and weekend hours are in addition to the usual GP surgery opening hours from 8 am to 6.30 pm.

The system means that patients can be seen by a GP or nurse in an appointment as soon as possible.

More importantly because the system is being run by local GPs it means that, subject to permission by the patient, the GP who the patient sees will be able to access the full medical record and history to enable a thorough assessment and course of treatment. It also means that the patient’s record will be updated which will provide continuity of care.

The service is being provided from the Extended GP Access Hub which is based at the Accrington Pals Primary Care Centre, but should not be confused with the services provided by Peel House GP surgery as they are two separate things.

Dr Rachel Halstead, GP at The Royle in Great Harwood, said: “The system is staffed by local GPs and nurses and is very simple and easy to use. To book an appointment for a weekday evening or weekend, patients simply need to ring their own GP practice and ask for an appointment.

“Staff at all Hyndburn Practices are able to book directly into the Extended Access service and the way we have set up the system means that patients can be booked into the evening and weekend appointments if they cannot be seen or are unable to attend during normal surgery hours.

“It is early days for this new system but already we are receiving good feedback and we hope that it will meet the needs of the majority of people who need improved access to GP services. It is certainly a new and welcome addition to NHS services in Hyndburn.”

The GP Extended Access system is run by local GPs working together to improve primary care services under the name of the East Lancs Union of GPs – a Federation set up between 38 Practices across East Lancashire. GP Federations are typically run by local GPs in each area and have been established to allow local GPs to work together to develop and improve primary care services specifically to suit local needs