Enhanced Access for General Practice Services – October 1, 2022

30th September 2022

The way general practice services are provided in Norfolk and Waveney on evenings and weekends is changing.

From Saturday, October 1, local practices will be working even more closely together to offer patients evening and weekend appointments across Norfolk and Waveney with patients being able to see a health professional at a time that is most convenient to them.

Nationally, the responsibility for who arranges ‘enhanced access’ services is changing. It is moving over to primary care networks (PCNs). PCNs are small groups of practices that work together in a number of different ways to provide services that are responsive to patient needs in their area.

This change means health professionals working in your practice will have more say over how the additional appointments should be used to meet the needs of their patients with appointments being available Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm and Saturdays, 9am – 5pm.

While the new arrangement doesn’t mean that every single practice will offer these additional appointments, instead, like the rest of the country, PCNs will work together to provide early morning, evening, and weekend appointments at various locations across Norfolk and Waveney.

The new arrangements aim to streamline services across Norfolk and Waveney, making access more convenient for patients and offering more flexible working for staff. It will mean that local people can access a broader set of services during these extended hours, including screening and vaccination.

If a face-to-face appointment is needed, you may be asked to attend a practice in the local area – this may not be your own practice, but at another nearby. The exact mix of what is provided through this enhanced offer will be determined based on local health needs and the views of patients.

Mark Burgis, Director of Patients and Communities at NHS Norfolk and Waveney said: “Being able to access a health professional in general practice when you need it, is important to all of us. We’re doing all we can to make sure people can access appointments at a time that is most convenient to them. Evening and weekend appointments are available at either your practice, or at an NHS service nearby, including for your vaccinations, health checks and screenings.”