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Seven-day GP access pilot cuts A&E attendances ‘by 10%’

An area piloting the Government’s flagship seven-day GP access scheme has made a reduction in the number of A&E attendances, claim CCG leaders.

The findings were gleaned from research based on the largest national pilot area for the PM’s Challenge Fund, based in north west London, which enabled 1.9 million patients to access GP services at weekends.

According to NHS North West London CCG, seven-day GP opening hours at four of the pilot’s Westminster surgeries resulted in:

  • almost 10% (9.9) reduction in A&E attendance over the entire week
  • an 11.5% drop in A&E admissions of patients aged 60 years and above from these surgeries.

The biggest impact on A&E attendances during the pilot was at the weekends, in cases where patients would usually have to wait until Monday to access GP appointments and in cases with a mild to moderate severity, the research concluded.

A spokeswoman for NHS North West London CCG told Pulse: ‘Seven-day opening hours were piloted at four practices for a period ranging between two to ten months. Weekend opening hours were between 10:00 – 18:00 at three practices and 08:00 – 16:00 at one.’

Another recent study found that seven-day GP access pilots brought ‘significant reductions’ in the number of A&E attendances and admissions, but concluded that seven-day opening might be most effective in ‘strategically located surgeries’.