Patients will now be able to access routine appointments at a GP practice at evenings and weekends thanks to a new extended access service.
NHS Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group has commissioned the extra appointments for all patients registered across its 30 practices as part of an NHS England requirement.
It means that local GP practices are now working together to offer patients better access to appointments across the region, enabling them to see a GP or other appropriate clinician at a time most convenient to them.
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.
In total, 122 additional hours of appointments will be available in the Lincolnshire West area. Patients will need to check with their practice when the appointments are available.
Dr Jago Ridout, GP at Washingborough Family Practice, said the introduction of extended access was a positive for patients in the Lincolnshire West area.
He said: “Seven day extended access is an important addition to health care provision.
“Extended hours appointments would be for pre-bookable non-urgent appointments. These include for chronic illness, asthma checks, medicines reviews.
“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.
“We want to make it as convenient as possible for patients to get the health care they need, when they need it and this extended access should provide that.
“I would encourage patients to speak to their respective practices to find out what appointments are on offer and available to them.”
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.
Extended hours appointments would 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.