A CCG in Durham has offered a LES for Saturday and Sunday opening for practices to relieve the pressure on health services this winter.
The scheme, devised by North Durham CCG, involves 15 practices which will be open for an extra 20 hours a week as an alternative to using urgent care or visiting A&E.
The winter pressure scheme is funded by the CCG, using non-re current money. Practices will receive between £800 to £1,000 for a five hour session, depending on whether it is staffed by a GP and a receptionist or if a nurse is also available.
Dr Neil O’ Brien, chief clinical officer designate of the CCG , whose own practice is offering Saturday morning appointments during the winter, said the scheme was a way of mobilising primary care to help with winter pressures.
Some surgeries are open both days and some are only offering Saturday morning sessions, or all day Saturdays.
The scheme follows a pilot at a single surgery last year and will be evaluated at the end of the peak winter period.
Dr George Rae, chief executive officer at Newcastle LMC, said: ‘It’s important that the resourcing is there and the capacity is there.’
He said he was sure it would be welcomed by patients and added it was important that there is proper resourcing and ‘capacity is not strained to breaking point’.