(Axbridge & Wedmore, Brent Area, Burnham & Berrow, Cheddar, Highbridge Practices)

National “Improved Access” Scheme for GP Surgeries

In future GP surgeries in England will increasingly be working together to provide services for their patients, and there will be more professionals like pharmacists, specialist nurses and physiotherapists working closely with family doctors. This is partly because there is a shortage of GPs in many parts of the country, but it also means you are more likely to be able to book an appointment to see the right person to help with your problem when you first contact the surgery.

Somerset has been chosen by NHS England to introduce a new scheme that will allow you to make an appointment to see a health professional in a GP practice outside the usual working hours of GP surgeries. The scheme works by getting a group of GP practices together so that they can open up in turn at the new times. The following surgeries are offering Improved Access to all patients in the North Somerset Federation.  If you cannot access an appointment at your own surgery it is now possible to access available appointments at other surgeries in your area.  Please ask at Reception. Surgeries with us in the North Somerset Federation are Brent Area, Burnham & Berrow, Cheddar and Highbridge Medical Centres. Patients from all of these surgeries will be allowed to book an appointment in “Improved Access” time at any other participating practice though because these appointments are for routine matters, once they are all taken you will need to book for a different time.

Although your usual GP may be available during Improved Access time, most of the appointments will be with other doctors and, increasingly, different health professionals. If your usual doctor is working one of the new shifts, is likely that she or he will personally have fewer appointments during the normal working week.

Outside normal surgery opening times urgent health problems will still be dealt with by the 111 call line and Somerset Doctors Urgent Care.

Each group of surgeries will be offering some appointments on every weekday evening between 6.30 and 8.00, and also on Saturday mornings. If you need an appointment at one of those times, you can either ask for a particular day – meaning you would then have your appointment at whichever surgery is open on that day, or you could ask for your own surgery and then book an appointment for whenever it is their turn to be open.

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