From 1 October, extra evening, weekend and bank holiday appointments are available in east Kent to help patients get the care they need, when they need it.
This is part of a national drive to improve access to GP practice services and give people the opportunity to have an appointment at a time that suits them.
The extra appointments, which may be provided by a GP, nurse, physiotherapist, paramedic practitioner or other health professional, are for routine, non-urgent care. The extra slots are available between 6.30pm and 8pm each weekday. There are also appointments on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
They will not necessarily be at patients’ usual GP practice, but the health professionals treating them will be able to see their full medical records, with their consent. Patients who need an appointment will be allocated the most suitable clinician for their need.
Dr Jihad Malasi, chair of NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know that people sometimes have to wait to see a nurse or doctor and we believe the new longer hours will be of particular help to commuters, parents with young families, and other people who find it difficult to get to their practice during normal working hours.
“Anyone wanting to make an appointment should contact their GP practice in the first instance. Trained reception staff will know where and when appointments are available, and with which healthcare professional, and will be able to book the patient in. Patients should advise the receptionist if they particularly want an evening or weekend appointment.
“These extra appointments will be available for pre-booked care. It’s important to remember that anyone who needs medical assistance when their practice is closed should continue to dial NHS 111.”
To make sure that the new appointments system works well for patients, the CCG would like to encourage people to tell us about their experiences of them. Anyone with comments or queries can email the patient experience team: firstname.lastname@example.org