Patients in the Ivybridge area are benefiting from around 200 extra available GP appointments a week thanks to a new scheme offering extended opening hours.
People can now access appointments with local GPs and other primary care practitioners around their daily lives more easily with evening, weekend and Bank Holiday opening times.
Highlands Health Centre and Ivybridge Health Centre have linked up with Plympton Medical Centre – all part of Beacon Medical Group run by local GPs – to share opening their surgery doors longer.
Patients from these surgeries can book an appointment outside regular GP surgery hours for routine matters, as part of the Improved Access Scheme.
Dr Gillian Bedford, a GP at Highlands Health Centre in Ivybridge, said: “Extended GP access means more appointments for patients. We aim to deliver greater accessibility to patients who find it difficult to attend during regular hours, at a time which is more convenient for them.
“The new longer hours service is particularly useful to commuters, parents with young families, and other people who find it difficult to get to their practice during normal working hours.
“Patients who want to book an improved access appointment should ring their GP surgery as normal and the reception staff will tell them where clinics are being held on what day and the times of the available appointments.
“These extra appointments are largely available for pre-booked care, but if patients urgently need a same-day appointment, we will do our very best to fit them in that day.”
The scheme has been running nearly six months and has created around 5,000 additional GP appointments for people in the Ivybridge area.
Dr Bedford added: “It’s important that patients remember that anyone who needs medical assistance when their practice is closed should continue to dial NHS 111. The Improved Access Scheme is not a walk-in service and does not replace the service provided by Minor Injuries Units or A&E.”
For more information about the Improved Access Scheme speak to the GP practices involved or visit Beacon Medical Group’s website at: www.beaconmedicalgroup.nhs.uk