Extra appointments service launched

From October 1, people can book evening, weekend and bank holiday appointments with GPs, nurses and other health professionals in West Kent.

This is part of a national drive to improve access to GP services and give people the opportunity to have an appointment at a time that suits them.

The extra appointments service, alongside existing services, will allow people in West Kent to make an appointment to see a doctor between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays. Appointments can be pre-booked for routine matters or at short notice for less routine needs.

In addition, extra appointments with nurses and other health professionals will be available in the evenings and on Saturdays.

New appointments may not always be provided at patients’ own GP practices, but the health professionals treating them will be able to see their full medical records, with their consent.

“We know that sometimes people have a long wait to see a their doctor and we believe the new longer hours service will be of particular help to commuters, parents with young families, and other people who find it difficult to get to their practice during normal working hours,” said, Dr Bob Bowes, chairman of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“Anyone wanting to make an appointment should contact their GP practice in the first instance. Our trained staff will make sure they see the right doctor or healthcare professional at a time that suits them – either in their own surgery or, if not available there, at a surgery in West Kent that does.”

Anyone wanting to make an appointment must phone their own GP surgery and speak to the receptionist, who has been trained in care navigation.

To make sure that the new appointments system works well for patients, the NHS West Kent CCG would like to encourage people to tell us about their experiences of them. Anyone with comments or queries can email the patient experience team: nelcsu.engagement@nhs.net

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