A £1.86million cash injection has been awarded to the city’s GP surgeries so they can offer evening and weekend appointments.
NHS England announced today that a Milton Keynes Primary Care Collaboration consisting of 22 practices covering 229,559 patients has been successful in securing £1.86m from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.
The new pilot service will offer patients access to GP appointments in the evening (6pm-8pm) and weekends (8am-2pm).
Dr John Richards, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Urgent Care Services said “We are delighted to have been successful in making this bid and look forward to implementing this pilot which will provide much needed support to general practice whilst providing patients with additional options for accessing appointments in general practice”.
Appointments will be booked through the patient’s own practice and then patients are likely to see a GP at the Urgent Care Service on the hospital site. 22 out of 27 practices in Milton Keynes are participating in the pilot which initially runs up to March 2016. Extra GP appointment slots will be available to all of these 22 practices.
The pilot will also set up a new team to offer GPs and families access to specialist services for children and young people plus extra support services for older vulnerable and complex patients.
An enhanced computer system will be put in place which will ensure patient records are accessible to GPs and clinicians providing these services and allow the patients’ own practice to directly book appointments on behalf of their patients.
Preparations will start immediately to extend the computer systems and recruit staff. It is hoped that the new services will be in place by the autumn.
Dr Nicola Smith, GP Chair and Lead for Milton Keynes CCG said, “This is great news for patients. The CCG has been concerned for some time about the difficulty some patients have had to secure appointments at their GP surgery and have been working with GPs to find a way to improve patient access to GPs. With this system in place, patients will have access to many more appointment slots to get the care they need.”