Nurses and GPs in Spalding are one step ahead of the Government after introducing evening and Saturday appointments for its patients.
Munro Medical Centre, in West Elloe Avenue, Spalding, held the first of its eight-hour Saturday surgeries at the weekend for people with “minor ailments”, including coughs, colds, chest infections and sinus problems.
We’re opening for longer hours, both during the week and on Saturdays, in response to patients’ needs over the winterDr Graham Wheatley, joint senior partner at Munro Medical Centre, Spalding
The new service is unrelated to a pledge by former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to introduce a “truly seven-day NHS” to all patients in Britain by 2020.
Dr Graham Wheatley, joint senior partner at Munro Medical Centre, said: “We’re opening for longer hours, both during the week and on Saturdays, in response to patients’ needs over the winter.
“It’s a national scheme where we are working with South Lincolnshire CCG to improve access at a time of the year when more people are unwell.
“We’re hoping to offer a more widely available service, partly to relieve pressure on hospitals by helping patients with problems before they become more serious.”
Munro Medical Centre is making about 100 extra appointment places available for its patients up until the end of February, with scope for the length of the scheme to possibly be extended.
Dr Wheatley said: “We’re hoping it’ll have a big impact on patients in that they won’t have to wait for an appointment.”
The way was cleared for Saturday appointments at Munro Medical Centre after an alliance of GPs in south Lincolnshire was formed last February.
Medical centres in Bourne, Crowland, Gosberton, Holbeach, Moulton Medical Centre, Long Sutton, Market Deeping, Spalding and Sutterton are all part of the alliance.
But so far, Munro is the only medical centre to give patients the option of Saturday appointments.
A spokesman for South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “What Munro Medical Centre is doing is to treat minor ailments as part of a service that is only available to patients registered with the practice.
“It’s designed to provide medical services locally, rather than putting extra pressure on accident and emergency services.”
South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes said: “Providing additional GP services at weekends is an excellent idea and I congratulate Munro Medical Centre on it as it will free up space elsewhere in the NHS.”