I recently welcomed a new pilot weekend GP service in Uttlesford. The NHS service is operating now from two hubs - at Saffron Walden Community Hospital and The Dunmow Community Clinic. The service is currently available on Saturdays from 8am - 2pm and will extend to Saturday afternoon and Sundays, depending on demand. All GP practices in the area are taking bookings for the service which will allow patients to see a GP, healthcare assistant or nurse for routine appointments, health checks and treatments. People with long term health conditions such as asthma and diabetes can also access these appointments.
Appointments are made through a patient's own participating GP surgery for routine, booked appointments only and it is not a 'walk-in service'. The service was rolled-out across West Essex from October and patient feedback so far has been incredibly positive. Over 3,000 patients have been seen by the service across West Essex with the majority being people of working age who may not be able to access appointments during the week.
This is fantastic news for residents in Uttlesford. GP practices are under extreme pressure nationally and the demand for GP appointments is increasing and this service will help relieve demand. I met with Liz Adams, Interim Chief Executive of Uttlesford Health and Debbie Bodhanya, Chief Executive of Stellar Healthcare ahead of go-live and I am very pleased that this service has been successfully launched with positive feedback from staff and patients. I am thrilled to be seeing the service in action.
Liz Adams said: "Uttlesford Health is incredibly proud to have helped launch this service which will allow people greater access to GP appointments. Our GP practices can book these appointments as part of their normal processes, which will provide greater choice to fit in with busy lifestyles. We welcome showing the service to Sir Alan and look forward to residents benefiting from the additional appointments." The service is funded through a grant from the Prime Minister's Access Fund and is a pilot managed by two local GP companies: Stellar Healthcare and Uttlesford Health. These two companies have been set up by the GP practices in the area.