Doctors welcome longer hours

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Government proposals to extend the working hours of GP surgeries have been welcomed by doctors in the Lancaster district.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to offer more patients the chance to visit a GP in the evening or at weekends.

Under a £50m scheme to be piloted in nine areas of England, surgeries will be able to bid for funding to open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.

NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said it was currently considering the opportunities offered by the pilot to improve patient services and care.

Dr Alex Gaw, the group’s clinical chair, said: “Lancashire North CCG is excited about the potential opportunity to further improve access to services closer to and convenient for our patients. In Lancashire North local GPs have already put in place a range of services to meet the needs of our patients which have improved access outside normal working hours.

“Many of our GP practices currently offer surgeries outside working hours with appointments early in the morning and after work, in the evenings, as well as on Saturday mornings. Residents are also able to access the GP led Same Day Health Centre, which is based at Morecambe Health Centre, and offers same day healthcare for patients with a new or recent minor injury or illness, seven days a week from 8am to 6.30pm, 365 days a year.

“Many GP practices now provide the option for telephone appointments where this is more convenient and appropriate for patients and all link closely with the out of hours services if they have concerns about a patient.”