Access to GP services in Wales has continued to improve as official figures reveal the 97% of practices now offer appointments during the early evening hours of 5.00pm to 6.30pm, up from 95% in 2013.
The latest Welsh Government report on GP access also shows an increase in the percentage of practices open within core hours or within one hour of core times, to 80% in 2014 from 76% in 2013,
There has also been a reduction in the number of practices closing for half day training once a week from 11% to 6% in 2014.
However there are concerns that just 44% of surgeries were open during all core hours, as many closed for an hour at lunch, and that the number of practices offering appointments after 6.30pm had dropped to 7% in 2014
Welsh health minister Professor Drakeford said: ‘It is clear that GP surgeries across Wales are working hard to take steps to extend opening hours beyond 5pm and to avoid closing for half a day a week and they are making more appointments available to everyone.
‘But further improvements can be made. In particular, where there is an assessed need for working people to see a GP during working hours, we are working with GPC Wales – the group which represents GPs in Wales – and health boards to encourage ways in which access can be improved.’