THOUSANDS of GP appointments will be created thanks to a new integrated primary care service.
The scheme to offer routine and urgent appointments in the evenings and at weekends is set to go live across Fareham, Gosport and south east Hampshire next month.
Patients can choose to attend one of five hubs across the area rather than only being offered an appointment at the one closest to them.
The service will be available from 6.30pm to 10.30pm on weekdays and from 8am to 10.30pm at weekends and on bank holidays, creating 44,000 appointments per year across the area.
Patients will be able access the service by calling their normal GP surgery in hours or via 111 out of hours.
Feedback from patients showed that the pilot service was popular, with high levels of satisfaction. However usage across the seven sites differed considerably and finding GPs to fill rotas across seven sites has proved difficult.
This led to risks with healthcare professionals working in isolation and meant some clinics had to be cancelled.
Dr Dominic Davis, a Havant GP who is a clinical lead for the Alliance, said: ‘The new service has been planned on lessons learned from the GP extended access pilot.
‘It will offer longer opening hours than the pilot, with a greater choice of GPs and other clinicians and health professionals on each site so that patients see the most appropriate person for their needs.
‘By consolidating to five hubs the new service will be more robust, resilient and reliable than the pilot project – with more staff concentrated at fewer locations, ensuring that the locations are safe and responsive. It will help ensure that enough staff are available for each shift, which will avoid clinics being cancelled and ensure that appointments are more fully utilised.’
Sara Tiller, managing director of Fareham & Gosport and South East Hants CCGs said ‘The
CCG will be regularly monitoring the effectiveness of this service, including the suitability of
the geographic locations of the hubs to ensure that people from across the area are able to
access the service.
‘If we find that these locations are not being well-used or people are struggling to travel to them we will make the appropriate changes.’
From June 1, Fareham Community Hospital will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
Forton Medical Centre in Gosport will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6.30pm and 10.30pm.
On Saturdays and Sundays, Portchester Health Centre will be open from 8am until 10.30pm
Swan Surgery in Petersfield will open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm until 10.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays between 8am and 10.30pm
Waterlooville Health Centre will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6.30pm until 10.30pm and the weekend from 8am until 10.30pm.
Dr Davis added: ‘We recognise that some patients will be faced with longer journeys travelling to hubs – but they will be able to access the expertise of a bigger multi-disciplinary team, and for longer hours of operation.’