GP surgeries to give on line check-ups and to open on evenings and weekends

editorial image

Six district GP surgeries are set to open at evenings and weekends and offer checkups by video conference under a new scheme.

The surgeries will use social media, text messaging, online booking and e-mail consultations after applying for government funding to extend patient services.

The £50m Challenge Fund was launched last October to ease the pressure on A&E departments, where patients were turning up after struggling to get appointments with their GP.

The six surgeries are the Church Street and Prospect Surgeries in Ossett, Chapelthorpe Medical Centre, Middlestown Medical Centre, Orchard Croft Medical Centre in Horbury and Lupset Health Centre, it was announced on Monday.

Dr Chris Jones, a GP at Church Street Surgery in Ossett, led a successful funding bid by the six practices.

He said: “It’s been a massive piece of work to get these plans together and it’s really exciting to find out we’ve won the bid.

“Patients have been telling us that they want to be able to see a GP more easily, they want care that wraps around their needs and they want to have a choice of how they interact with their doctor and their other health professionals.”

The scheme was announced after the Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Lupset Health Centre last Friday.

Speaking after the announcement, Mr Hunt said: “Extending GP opening hours and offering more services online will make it far easier for millions of hardworking people and their families to fit seeing a GP around their busy lives.”

Under the scheme, patients will be able to speak to specialists who can arrange access to a physiotherapist, podiatrist, optician, pharmacist, or dentist instead of having to be referred by a GP.

NHS bosses said it would also provide more direct access to specialist help for people with complex health and social care needs.