Wakefield NHS launches access to GP appointments until 10pm
Patients are being given access to GP appointments until 10pm under a district-wide NHS scheme to cut attendances at A&E departments.
Medical advice and consultations with a doctor will be available between 6pm-10pm, Monday to Friday, and between 9am-3pm on weekends and bank holidays.
The GP Care Wakefield scheme is being phased in by NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and will be up and running for the whole district by October 10.
NHS bosses hope expending access to GP services will cut the number of people turning up at busy hospital emergency departments.
Shortstaffed Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been struggling to cope with demand and has missed A&E waiting time targets.
CCG chairman Dr Phil Earnshaw said: “It is hoped by broadening the availability of GP access to patients, and by providing medical advice from experienced nursing staff, patients will be able to receive support quicker and therefore no longer seek to go to A&E for conditions that are not suitable.”
Outside of normal opening hours, patients who ring their normal GP practice number will be put through to a nursing team.
If their condition is urgent enough they can be referred to see an out-of-hours doctor at Pontefract Hospital or Trinity Medical Centre in Wakefield city centre.
Non-urgent patients may be advised to phone their GP surgery the following day.
The scheme includes a computerised system to share patients’ medical records with the out-of-hours doctors.
A report by the CCG said: “Using supportive telephone technology, patients only have to call their normal GP number to access this service managed by Wakefield GPs.
“Patients who use the service are provided with medical advice from a dedicated nursing team, who can then refer the patient to a GP appointment that day, if required, at one of two sites across the district.
“Utilising a patient record sharing system, the scheme enables the GP seeing the patient to have access to the patient’s records if the patient gives consent.”
The extended hours scheme has already been implemented for patients at 30 district surgeries.
It will be up and running for patients at Stuart Road Surgery, The Grange Surgery, Orchard Croft Medical Centre and Middlestown Medical Centre on October 3.
The final phase will see Alverthorpe Surgery, Station Lane Medical Centre, White Rose Surgery and Newland Lane Surgery offer the scheme from October 10.