People in West Cheshire can now book to see a GP, a nurse or arrange a blood test in the evening, at weekends and on bank holidays.
The newly-enhanced extended hours service, which offers longer 15-minute GP appointments, also enables people to book physio assessments on any weekday evening.
Improvements to the local extended hours service are part of a national strategy to modernise primary care services and help reduce the pressure on busy A&E and ambulance services.
Patients registered with a GP practice in West Cheshire can access appointments at six locations – the General Practice Extended Hours Service at the Countess of Chester Health Park , Ellesmere Port Cottage Hospital, Helsby Health Centre, Tarporley War Memorial Hospital, Laurel Bank Surgery, Malpas , and Neston Surgery.
GP Dr Chris Ritchieson, the clinical chair of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said improvements to West Cheshire’s Extended Hours service ‘can only be good news for local patients’.
He added; “We know from our engagement with local patients and from the 2017 GP Patient Survey that access to appointments is one of our patients’ main priorities.
“Not only is the number of appointments available in extended hours increasing to more than 260 hours a week but the range of services is expanding too.”
Extended hours appointments are suitable for any patient who wants to access a routine general practice appointment outside normal opening hours. Anyone who needs an urgent appointment should call NHS 111 or, in an emergency, 999.
Patients registered with a West Cheshire GP practice can access appointments between 6.30pm-9.30pm, Monday to Friday and 9am-6pm at weekends.
Dr Kieran Murphy, NHS England’s medical director across Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “We know how vital GP services are to our local community and public satisfaction with services remains high. However it is important that services adapt to the changing expectations and needs of local people.
“Being able to book an appointment to see a GP after work or at the weekend will make sure that busy families and people who work can get help and treatment when they need it.”
To book an extended hours appointment, call 0300 123 7743 or speak to your GP practice receptionist. For more information, search online for ‘West Cheshire Extended Hours’.