As you may be aware the NHS England (who commission our practices services) have set out a requirement that practices work together to ensure that patients are able to access services outside our normal hours of work (8.00am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday).
Northwich PCN has produced a plan based on services being provided from the individual practices and from a local practice-based Hub on Friday and Saturday.
This way of working is not new to us, we have been providing so called Extended Access services for the last five years, including the ability for our patients to access services locally on Saturdays.
The times we provide extended access services from our practice bases have been determined by analysing the preferences of our patients over the last five years, in particular we have been keen to offer services to enable patients who work a distance away from the practice to access services.
Each practice is currently publicising when services are available and we are proposing to add further services to our existing provision, from October 2022.
In addition to the services provided from each practice we are working with our neighbouring practices to offer appointments across the week and on Saturdays. As always, the availability of appointments will be dependent on our capacity, however, please ask the practice receptionist if you would ideally like an appointment outside the normal core hours. It is important to stress that the number of appointments offered outside the normal hours will only be a small proportion of our total appointments, as it is important that we do not undermine our normal level of service particularly given the current high levels of demand and our workforce challenges.
As we have stated we are sure that the time our practices provide services (outside of core hours) reflects the preferences of our patients, but we would be pleased to hear your views so that we can continue to evaluate the best times to offer services.