GP surgeries to extend opening hours

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Six district GP surgeries are set to open at evenings and weekends and offer checkups by video conference under a scheme launched today.

Surgeries in Ossett, Horbury, Lupset, Middlestown and Chapelthorpe will use social media, text messaging, online booking and e-mail consultations after applying for government funding to extend patient services.

The £50m Challenge Fund was launched last October to ease the pressure on A&E departments, where patients were turning up after struggling to get appointments with their GP.

Dr Chris Jones, a GP at Church Street Surgery in Ossett, led a successful funding bid to the £50m fund by the six practices.

He said: “It’s been a massive piece of work to get these plans together and it’s really exciting to find out we’ve won the bid.

“Patients have been telling us that they want to be able to see a GP more easily, they want care that wraps around their needs and they want to have a choice of how they interact with their doctor and their other health professionals.”

The six surgeries are Ossett’s Church Street and Prospect Surgeries, Chapelthorpe Medical Centre, Middlestown Medical Centre, Orchard Croft Medical Centre in Horbury and Lupset Health Centre.

Under the scheme, patients will be able to speak to a specialist who can arrange access to a physiotherapist, podiatrist, optician, pharmacist, or dentist instead of having to be referred by a GP.

Health bosses said the scheme would also provide more direct access to specialist help for people with complex health and social care needs.

Dr Jones added: “We’ve still got a mountain to climb to get all the plans in place, but now that we’ve got the funding we’re going to move ahead really quickly.

“We hope that patients will work with us as we introduce the changes so that they develop in a way that works best for them.”