New services have launched this week to offer a range of routine, pre-bookable, appointments with GPs, practice nurses and medical specialists outside of your surgery's normal hours.
These new services will increase Sefton residents’ options for booking a non-urgent GP appointment on weekday evenings as well as on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
In addition, people will be able to book appointments with a range of other health care professionals working as part of these teams.
Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:
"We know that access to appointments can be an issue for some patients, particularly those who have weekday commitments during regular practice opening hours.
“Now, thanks to these two new services, we can improve access to general practice by offering more flexibility and a wider choice of appointment times into the evening and at weekends.
“This isn't just about getting to see a GP when you need to, it's about seeing the right health professional, providing the right care, in the right place at and the right time.”
NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG have appointed the borough's two GP federations to provide the extended access services.
The two GP federations, Southport and Formby Health and South Sefton Primary Health Care are run by doctors and invite all practices in their local areas to be members. In Southport, the federation already runs a very successful community cardiology service.
Dr Gustavo Berni from South Sefton Primary Health Care and local GP said:
"Being able to book an appointment is something we know can be hard for people to do, especially for those in work when surgeries are open.
"Now, people can book an evening or weekend appointment with the new service through their regular GP practice."
Dr Abdul Zubairu, medical director at Southport and Formby Health Ltd, said:
"We've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to get ready for these new services.
"Although you may not see your usual GP, be assured the clinician you see will have access to your health records with your consent, so will know all about you and the best way to treat you."
The Southport and Formby service will operate out of the same building as the existing Family Surgery GP Practice at 107 Liverpool Road in Southport.
Litherland Town Hall Health Centre on Hatton Hill Road will be the base in south Sefton.
When and where will appointments be available?
Southport and Formby: Mon to Fri, 5 pm – 8 pm and Sat & Sun, 9 – 12 pm at 107 Liverpool Rd, Birkdale, PR8 4DB
South Sefton: Mon to Fri, 5 pm – 8 pm and Sat & Sun, 10 am – 1 pm at Litherland Town Hall, Hatton Hill Rd, L21 9JL
How will patients access these services?
All patients registered with a Sefton GP will be able to book appointments with their local extended access service via their practice.
Anyone contacting NHS 111 who may be appropriately seen by the extended GP access service will also be offered an appointment by the call handler.
Are there things the new services won’t offer?
These are not ‘list based’ services, so patients cannot register with them as with a regular GP practice. It is therefore not intended to offer all services that you would expect from a traditional GP practice.
While the services will prescribe any medicines that patients’ need as a result of their appointment, they will not be able to issue repeat prescriptions. This remains the responsibility of the GP practice the patient is registered with.