This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

NHS England launches seven-day GP advertising campaign

Seven-day access has now been fully rolled out across England, according to NHS England.

The body said that every patient in England should now able to see a GP in the evening or at weekends, with around nine million extra appointments set to be provided a year.

NHS England said it has launched a communications campaign in the run up to Christmas to raise public awareness of the extra appointments.

This comes after a Pulse investigation earlier this year revealed that the scheme failed to fill appointments in areas where it was rolled out and garnered little support from GP leaders.

NHS England’s director of primary care delivery Dominic Hardy said: ‘Local health services have worked hard to ensure patients have access to our excellent general practice services right across the country. Because of this hard work, we have been able to make these extra appointments available months ahead of schedule and before winter really starts.

‘As well as offering convenience and choice to patients, it will help to reduce some of the pressure on general practice and A&Es and ease some of the wider system pressures we saw last winter.’

But GP leaders argued that GPs are still under 'intense resource and workforce pressures' and called for better investment in core GP services to help ‘practices struggling to meet growing demand’.

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘GPs across the country have worked hard to establish this extended service in evenings and weekends. It will provide some additional appointments for patients but there remains huge pressure on practices as a whole, as the needs of patients is increasing at the same time that we are facing a year by year fall in the number of GPs.

‘This leaves practices struggling to meet growing demand and why the need to invest in core general practice services remains so urgent.’

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said:  ‘GPs across the country are going above and beyond to ensure we can deliver good, safe care for our patients under intense resource and workforce pressures.'

She added: 'We are preparing for a very busy winter in general practice. Our patients should always be able to access GP services if they become ill, either through our routine service, or the GP out of hours service – but we would also encourage patients to think about whether they really need to see a GP, or whether self-care or visiting a pharmacist are options in the first instance.'

The first winter pressures report, released by NHS England last week, found that the NHS had the worst November of record for the four-hour A&E waiting time target. In response, GPs warned that this will be the 'toughest winter yet'.

Readers' comments (12)

  • Ivan Benett

    :)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • CENSORSHIP?

    In my experience weekend availability is not advertised to patients for acute slots

    Weekend slots are used for elective bookings instead
    come in to discuss recent blood tests
    results etc

    Is the wool being pulled over the eyes??
    Oh look there is an artificially created demand

    pretty sure that if the availability was truly advertised then it would still fill up

    As for extended access
    its good to have access to patients records
    but... there is medicolegal risk if responsibility for test results remains with the extended access service
    and no continuity of doctors being seen

    lies damned lies and statistics
    and fake news


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Will this stop winter pressures(all year now)time will tell?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • CENSORSHIP?

    RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘GPs across the country are going above and beyond to ensure we can deliver good, safe care for our patients under intense resource and workforce pressures.'

    Dear RCGP why should the profession have to martyr itself to a system which does not respect it enough to adequately fund or renumerate it??
    and is more than happy to scapegoat individuals who put them selves forward for risky understaffed working conditions

    No other profession does this to the extent of doctors and nurses and at the level of risk to themselves and their patients

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • CENSORSHIP?

    Post Brexit will the uk lose the european work time directive
    that will help staff 7 day opening

    Here come the bad old days again !!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Amazing that out of hours services are imploding yet patients are being seen for their prebooked issues at the weekend, and NHS England advertises these slots talking about helping a/e demand for this!!!
    Completely barmy and illogical central planning!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    Ha ha ha
    The way this whole story pans out is so indicative of this government led by Auntie May who is currently dragging her limping legs through the mud of Brexit. For those seven-day-GP opening ideology protagonists , tell me what concrete achievements you have acquired, given the huge amount resources diverted to these vanguard sites . What have they done to help (or NOT help) the whole big picture? But unfortunately politics is always like that : sacrifice the big picture for one’s personal crusade ..,,,,,

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Learn the lesson of the plastic bag tax; a small charge would soon sort out who really needs to see a GP.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dr Stelvio everybody knows this including our politicians but million dollar question is who will bell the cat????????. Smart politicians are waiting for us to do their job by reducing funding and making life difficult.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 'The body said that every patient in England should now able to see a GP in the evening or at weekends'

    So did OOH stop existing in the past decade, or do politicians conveniently ignore this?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say