Grab a sandwich… and a GP appointment: Government plan to allow patients to register for surgeries near their place of work
Patients will be able to pop into their GP during their lunch-break under Government plans to make it easier to get an appointment.
They will be allowed to register with a surgery close to where they work rather than having to sign up to one near their home, as is currently the case.
Under plans announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, patients will be able to register with any practise they chose that is likely to best fit-in with their daily routines.
Lunch hour: Patients could soon be able to sign up with a GP close to where they work
Mr Lansley hopes that it will enable patients to see their GP during their working day rather than having to take time off or ask permission from their employers.
Many surgeries close between 1pm and 2pm however so it may not always be possible to get an appointment during lunchtime.
The Government will run a pilot scheme starting in April in surgeries across London, Manchester and Nottingham. If it is deemed a success it will be rolled out nationwide.
The scheme will also enable patients to stay registered with their family doctor should they move short distances.
Plans: Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has announced a pilot scheme
At present patients can only remain on practices’ books as long as they live within certain postcode boundaries nearby.
But as part of the proposals they could decide to stay with their old surgery if they wanted to avoid the hassle of registering again or seeing a new, unfamiliar GP.
The proposals are most likely to benefit full-time workers or those living in London or other big cities who tend to move short distances.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “This is just the beginning of a range of measures we hope to introduce to make the NHS truly patient focussed and will allow us to better understand their needs.
“Many patients are happy with their local GP practice, but a significant minority have problems registering with a practice of their choice.
“This pilot will mean patients taking part can access the high quality care they deserve in a place and at a time that suits them.
“That’s why I believe patients should have the freedom to choose a GP practice that suits their lives, and not be restricted by geographical boundaries.”
The latest Department of Health figures show that only half of patients are able to see their GP within 48 hours.
According to the GP Patient Survey, which was filled in by nearly 530,000 people, 13 per cent waited longer than a week for a slot.