The first survey of patients accessing seven-day GP services in Leeds as part of a £9million pilot project has found three-quarters could get appointments on the day they wanted.
The survey, conducted by Healthwatch Leeds working with NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), gave NHS bosses the chance to review the pilot scheme almost six months after it launched.
Since launching the initiative almost half of the CCG’s 37 GP practices in west Leeds have been offering extended opening hours, including early morning, late evening and weekend appointments.
Just under 90 per cent of the 406 respondents said they were fairly or very satisfied with the hours their GP practice is open.
Dr Simon Stockill, medical director at the CCG and GP at Kirkstall Lane Medical Centre, is pleased with the feedback but says there is work to be done.
He said: “We know that challenges remain in some places such as getting through on the phone and where recruitment of GPs and practice nurses is tough. However, with our support, practices in west Leeds are working hard to make improvements with increased use of online services and working closer with local pharmacists.”
The 18-month pilot project has seen practices opening longer, with 18 working together in four clusters to offer weekend and bank holiday opening.
It aims to reduce the area’s £11milion spend on A&E and urgent care admissions as well as lift patient satisfaction.
Patient Nicola Morris, from Headingley, said: “It’s very important that I can access appointments quickly and with minimum disruption to my working day.”