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Wiltshire’s GP practices working together have launched the new extended appointment times for evenings, weekends and bank holidays for all residents who are registered with a GP practice in Wiltshire.
The scheme will offer people better access to GP appointments in Wiltshire. People who are registered with a Wiltshire practice will be able to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional at a time which is most convenient for them.
People will be able to pre-book routine appointments to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional based at Wiltshire GP practices in the evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm, and at weekends and bank holidays. In total, an additional 235 hours per week of additional clinical time will be available to 100% of the Wiltshire population. The new initiative began this month on Monday 1st October.
Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said, “This is a Wiltshire-wide initiative, and means that patients who would like an evening appointment, or who need to be seen by a GP at the weekend, can book appointments at a practice in their local area. The appointment offered may not be at your usual practice, but you will not have to travel very far for your appointment. It’s only through groups of GP practices collaborating together that we’ve been able to ensure all Wiltshire patients have this option.”
Appointment types will vary – some being face-to-face, some on the phone – and there will be a mixture of bookable and same-day appointments available across the week. Patients will be triaged to ensure they see the most appropriate healthcare professional who can best deal with their needs, so appointments may also be with a nurse practitioner or a practice nurse. Some appointments will be conducted over the phone, where appropriate.
Dr Lindsay Kinlin, who has led the Wiltshire initiative said, “Whatever your local area of Wiltshire, appointments will be offered as usual during the week, but you can be seen at any participating surgery during the evening or weekend.
“People can book a weekend or evening appointment by contacting their usual surgery during normal opening times. Your practice will explain the process, and ensure the booking is appropriate for your need. We will also request your consent to allow us to share your medical records with the practice where your appointment is due to be. More information is available on your usual GP surgery’s website.”
Dr Sandford-Hill added, “We will be providing access to primary care services during peak times of demand, including bank holidays and across the Christmas, New Year and Easter periods, but the key is to book through your normal GP surgery. This is not a walk-in service, and patients will only be seen if they have pre-booked their appointment or if they have been advised to see a GP by the 111 service and have been booked in.”