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Seven-day pilot scheme claims to offer 5,000 extra GP appointments

GPs in Oxfordshire are providing patients with 5,000 more appointments each month after receiving £4m from NHS England’s extended access fund, commissioners have claimed.

According to the CCG, more than half of the additional appointments are provided during weekday evenings after 6.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The CCG has said that the extra appointments, about 78% of which are regularly filled, are allowing GPs to give longer appointments to patients who need them. 

Pulse has previously revealed that 82.5% of CCGs have more than 60% of their extra evening appointments filled.

The extra appointments are provided to 694,878 patients by the four GP federations in Oxfordshire: Principal Medical Limited, OxFed, South East Oxfordshire Federation and the Abingdon Federation.

OxFed began providing an extended service in April 2017, while Abingdon Federation and South East Oxfordshire Federation started in January 2017 and Principal Medical Limited started in November 2016. 

The Oxfordshire practices were chosen to be part of the second wave of practices to start offering extended access to GP services with £6 per patient from NHS England in March 2015.

According to the CCG, the funding covers all parts of service delivery, including staff, premises costs, equipment, licences and insurance, indemnity costs and management costs.

Julie Dandridge, head of primary care at NHS Oxfordshire CCG, said: ‘We want patients to have access to more appointments throughout the week including at the weekends to deliver more effective care in Oxfordshire.

‘More evening and weekend routine appointments suit some people, especially those who are working long hours, have commitments or prefer a more flexible time to see a doctor or nurse.’