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Patients being consulted on extended GP opening

Paients in Luton are being asked how an extended hours GP service should look.

NHS Luton CCG is running a survey to find out what patients want and how far they are willing to travel for evening and weekend appointments.

The extended hours service is due to start next April for patients registered with Luton’s 28 GP practices.

The month-long online survey, launched today, asks patients what type of appointments they wanted and the day and time they would prefer.

They are asked what they think about the statement ‘extended opening hours for GP services should be available to all patients registered with a GP practice in Luton.’

People are also asked if they would be happy to travel to a different site up to three miles or four to seven miles to see a healthcare professional.

They are invited to rank the services they would most like to want during the evening and weekend. Options include appointments with a GP, healthcare assistant, GP nurse, nurse for minor injuries, a pharmacist for medicines advice or an appointment to get advice on mental health and well-being.

The survey also asks patients to consider if they want a face to face, telephone or online appointment.

GP Nina Pearson who is Luton CCG’s chair said: ‘Currently most GP practices in Luton are open between 8.00am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday, with some practices open for longer hours on weekdays and some Saturday mornings.

‘We want to make sure everyone has a say on which times and days the core hours should be extended on, so they have an input into the decision making process.’

Former Prime Minister David Cameron pledged ahead of the 2015 general election that all patients would have access to routine GP appointments 8-8, seven days a week by 2020.

However, a Pulse analysis has revealed that this is not what is going to be delivered under NHS England plans to hand £6 per patient to all CCGs to deliver extended GP opening from 2019 onwards.