MPs have welcomed a scheme that will see more GPs in the A&E deaprtment at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.
The doctors’ checkpoint that sifts people arriving for what is not a genuine emergency will now be manned 24 hours a day.
Fareham MP Mark Hoban said: ‘This is a positive move and I’m glad the centre has had the desired effect.
‘It’s doing what it’s meant to be doing and that’s making sure the patients who need urgent care are getting it, and those who don’t are getting signposted to the right place.
‘The only thing to think about is now that people know the centre is available around the clock, will more people turn up to A&E?
‘Other than that this is a great initiative.’
Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said work needs to be done to extend GP surgery opening hours.
She said: ‘This is part of a strategy to reduce pressure on A&E and make use of other resources so that only real emergencies are seen in the QA.
‘It also highlights why there’s a need to invest in primary care and make sure doctors are available in the evenings and at weekends, so they are not turning up at A&E instead.’
Steve Taylor, manager of patient-watchdog group Healthwatch Hampshire, said: ‘This is good news for patients and welcome at a time of more flexibility in the NHS, as long as quality does not suffer.’