Doctors in Calderdale want to remind people that appointments with GPs and practice nurses are available every day over the winter period.
As part of the Improved Access service, people can access routine appointments from 6.30pm – 8.00pm Monday to Friday and weekend appointments from 10am-2pm every Saturday and Sunday.
Appointments are also available between 10am – 11.30am on Bank Holidays, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
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Appointments are held at Improved Access Hubs, which are Spring Hall Medical Centre in Halifax, Station Road Surgery in Sowerby Bridge, and Southowram Surgery. Patients should speak to their own practice to find out more and to book an Improved Access appointment.
Dr Caroline Taylor, GP member of Calderdale CCG’s Governing Body and GP at Beechwood Medical Centre in Ovenden, said: “Winter is always a busy period for the NHS, which is why it’s so important that people know that GPs and practice nurses are on-hand every day during the winter period.
“We know that many people struggle to access GP appointments at a time that suits them, particularly over the Christmas period when many people are very busy. That’s why we’ve worked with GPs to improve peoples’ access to primary medical services.
“This is the first winter that 100 per cent of people registered with GP practices in Calderdale can access appointments seven days a-week, even on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day at our Improved Access Hubs.”
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As well as extra appointments during times when GP practices aren’t traditionally open, Calderdale CCG has invested £370,297 in order to provide extra appointments with GPs and practice nurses during standard opening times of 8am – 6.30pm on weekdays.
Dr Steven Cleasby, a GP at Spring Hall Medical Practice and Chair of Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We’re making sure that we have the capability to manage high rates of demand at this time of year by investing funds to make more appointments in general practice.
“Waiting times for access to general practice is an important issue to us, and people who genuinely need an appointment should be able to access one in good time.
“We know that access to GP appointments at is important to people, but it’s vital that people only call for an appointment if absolutely needed. Self-management of minor illnesses such as coughs and colds should be the first option if people aren’t feeling their best, and pharmacists can offer health advice, recommend over-the-counter treatments and will advise you to see a doctor if necessary.
“People can also protect themselves and those close to them by having a flu jab – particularly people who are 65 years old or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, or who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person. These people may be eligible for a free vaccine, and should speak to their GP or midwife.
“Everyone else should speak to a pharmacist about getting the flu jab, to reduce the likelihood of falling ill this winter.”