As part of its Long Term Plan for the health service, the NHS is making access to primary care including local surgeries and their wider teams more convenient, with evening and weekend consultations being available in all regions.
Over the long weekend, thanks to the increased number of appointments available, people in need of medical advice and help will be more likely to be able to see their local family doctor than in previous years, offering more convenience and stopping problems getting worse.
With more than 98,000 additional appointments available in general practice over the bank holiday across England, extended access in Lincolnshire will help to meet the traditionally high demand over the Easter period.
The NHS is encouraging people to “help us to help you” by taking advantage of the range of health services available, including local surgeries, the 111 phone line and website, as well as calling 999 or going to A&E in an emergency.
This will ensure patients get seen in the right place and at the right time, often closer to home, and helps to ease the pressures on busy hospitals.
Trish Thompson, Director of Primary Care and Public Health for NHS England and NHS Improvement - Midlands, said: “Weekend and evening GP appointments are now available across the whole of the Midlands. This means that patients needing a GP this Easter can still get an appointment when their surgery is closed by following the instructions on their answerphone or calling NHS 111.
“In addition to GP services, other healthcare options over the bank holiday weekend include urgent treatment centres and pharmacies and advice from NHS 111.”
Dom Hardy, NHS England’s Director of Primary Care and System Transformation, said: “With access to GPs at weekends and evenings right across the country since the end of last year, this Easter as the NHS delivers its Long Term Plan for the health service, patients will have better access to family doctors than ever before.
“The bank holiday weekend is always a busy time for the NHS, but local health services have been working around the country to ensure there is adequate capacity both in and out of hospital for patients while also ensuring they have access to services when GPs close.
“A&Es and 999 continue to be there for anyone in an emergency and it’s important that people know how to get quick and expert help over the bank holiday, and seeking advice early is they feel unwell – not only from your local GP but online and over the phone – can mean health problems are caught early, allowing everyone to enjoy their days off and avoid a trip to A&E.
“Primary care services - whether delivered by GPs, nurses and increasingly by physios based out of community surgeries - are vital for our patients, and across the country plans are in place to ensure appropriate services are available for patients this Easter, during the day and out of hours.”
At the end of 2018 NHS England confirmed that evening and weekend appointments are available across the country, with an average of 24,500 additional extended access GP appointments open for patients each day.
This equates to 98,000 additional appointments being available over the four-day bank holiday and means there is far greater capacity and more options for patients to get their needs met over the extended break.
100% of the population will have access to extended access appointments over the bank holiday weekend, either at their local practice or at a hub site.