People in Cornwall can now book an appointment to see a GP in the evening and at the weekend.
Bookable appointments are available to anyone who needs to see a GP for help or advice, but would prefer an appointment outside normal surgery hours.
This is not a walk-in service, but an extension of the usual GP practice services that people registered with a surgery have access to.
GP surgeries are working together in their community to provide this service and this means that people may not always see their own GP and instead may be offered an appointment with a nurse or another health professional from another practice in their area. These health professionals can still prescribe medication or refer people for further treatment if necessary.
Dr Francis Old, NHS Kernow Governing Body member, said: “Making sure people can get good and simple access to GP services is so important to us and to the people who are registered at our surgeries. We aim to ensure that people can get clinical advice, when they need it.
“Our advice is that people should always call their GP practice they are registered with during practice hours – Monday to Friday, 8am to 6.30pm. GP receptionists may also ask you to tell them a bit about your needs, as they have been trained to identify the member of the practice best suited to meet these needs – this could be a practice nurse, a pharmacist or advice to visit a minor injury unit.
“We understand that people lead busy lives so we want to make it easier to get an appointment. By making appointments available in the evenings and at weekends, we can make sure that people can see a doctor, nurse or another health professional beyond traditional practice opening hours.
People are advised to contact their own GP practice for more information about evening and weekend appointments or look on their practice’s website.
There are also other ways to seek health advice including visiting an online service called eConsult, which is being tested out by 18 practices across Cornwall, and allows people registered with the practice to access GP services anytime, anywhere through their practice website.
The service allows people to check their health symptoms and find out information and advice about a condition and services that are available locally. They can also complete an online form to describe their needs and request a response from their practice.
You can find out if your practice is one of those offering eConsult by visiting our e-consult pages.
The NHS 111 service is also available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. People should use the NHS 111 service if they need health advice when their GP surgery is closed, or if it is urgent but not life threatening. NHS 111 can then provide advice over the phone, sign post you to a local pharmacy, or arrange for you to see a Doctor. NHS 111 also offers an online service, available by visiting NHS 111.