The move could see practices open early in the morning and in the evening during weekdays, and during the day on Saturdays, to provide additional appointment opportunities outside of normal working hours.
The changes are part of a requirement from NHS England which aims to reduce variability across the country and increase patients’ understanding of and access to available services.
The enhanced access is likely to involve a wide range of different healthcare professionals and could include non-urgent appointments as well as routine services such as screening and health checks and seasonal requirements including flu vaccinations.
Dr Michele Legg, Clinical Director for the Isle of Wight on the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“GP practices have been changing the way they work to accommodate increasing demand for patient services, by expanding their healthcare teams to include a wider range of healthcare professionals and services available to the local community from dietitians and health and wellbeing coaches, to first contact physios, mental health practitioners, physician associates, social prescribers and clinical pharmacists.
“This next step is another means of increasing access to care but will need to strike an important balance between meeting local needs and being able to address capacity within an already stretched workforce.
“It will also require the commitment of residents to attend appointments provided. Around 1000 people across the Island each week (6.8%) are not turning up for appointments or failing to cancel them – appointments that could have been offered to other patients. We all need to work together to ensure access to services is there for all those who need them.”
Practices, working together as local primary care networks, have created bespoke surveys to help them understand local needs and inform their plans for enhanced access from the autumn.
The survey must be completed by 17th July and can be completed online via the links below or, if preferred, via paper copies which can be requested from your local GP practice.
Central & West Wight Health Alliance Primary Care Network (for the following GP practices: Newport Health Centre, Brookside Health Centre and Cowes Medical Practice) – https://mysay.is/EAIOWCandW
North East Locality Primary Care Network (for the following GP practices: East Cowes Medical Centre, Medina Healthcare (Wootton), Esplanade Surgery, Tower House Surgery, Argyll House surgery and St Helen’s surgery) – https://mysay.is/EAIOWNE
South Locality (IW) Primary Care Network (for the following GP practices: The Bay Medical Practice, Ventnor Medical Practice and South Wight Medical Practice in Brighstone, Godshill and Niton) – https://mysay.is/EASIOWSW
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