Patients could see doctors from other surgeries for out-of-hours appointments due to GP shortage
- Credit: EDP, Archant
Patients in Norfolk and Waveney hoping to see their GP could be offered an appointment away from their normal surgery or with a doctor from another practice.
It comes as part of a plan to widen the availability of primary care, but a shortage of GPs in our region and nationwide could see appointments offered outside of normal hours with alternative clinicians.
It is part of a national initiative which has prompted Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to look how to improve access to healthcare by offering routine appointments outside of the core hours currently offered on weekdays (8am to 6.30pm), and the need for routine appointments at weekends.
A high-level plan has been laid out in NHS England's GP Forward View, issued in 2016, to deliver and extend effective access to out of hours and urgent care services.
And additional services may be provided at an alternative surgery, with a different GP or even a GP from another practice. Should that GP need to access your medical records, consent would be sought.
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Health chiefs in Norfolk and Waveney are seeking the views of patients on how additional appointments at GP surgeries should develop over the coming years.
And a survey for patients asking for their thoughts has been launched today, November 1.
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The CCGs will consider the responses alongside evidence of GP and nursing shortages, how GP appointments are currently used, and levels of usage of other services during extended access periods, such as GP out-of-hours services, A&E and urgent treatment centres/minor injury units/walk-in centres.
Dr Paul Berry, a GP working for the NHS Career Plus scheme, said: 'GP practices are always looking to improve the accessibility of the services and appointments they offer at surgeries – this is an important opportunity for local people to tell us what they think about evening and weekend appointments.'
'Improved access does not solely mean seeing a GP, but also primary care nurses and other healthcare professionals who can provide clinical advice and treatments, so we are keen to hear about the range of needs that offering additional appointment times could serve.'
The survey will close on November 30, and can be accessed here or paper copies will also be available at GP surgeries.
Primary care will also be discussed at three events coordinated by Healthwatch Norfolk as part of engagement around Norfolk and Waveney's Sustainability and Transformation Plan.
For people in Waveney, Healthwatch Suffolk will signpost the survey across their networks and distribute surveys at all of their engagement events.
The consultations will be held at: Roundwood Conference Centre, Taverham, on November 22 between 3pm and 8.30pm; King's Lynn Town Hall, on November 27, between 3pm and 8.30pm, and Kings Centre, Great Yarmouth, on December 1, between 10am and 4pm.