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Prime Minister gives Southwark GP services £1m boost

Southwark residents will see better access to GP care with the help of a £1million investment to support local plans for improvements.  This forms part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, worth £50million nationally.

GP practices want to make it easier for Southwark residents to access services by making appointments available in the evening and at the weekend.  Their plan is for patients to be able to access a GP or nurse 8am - 8pm, every day of the week.

In future local people will be able to access services at their own GP surgery or at another practice in the local area in a ‘neighbourhood access clinic'.  Once established, the clinics will also offer appointments for patients who are not registered with a GP.  This is particularly important in Southwark where up to 15% of the population are not registered with a GP.  Improved access to primary care at evenings and weekend will also support local A&E departments.

The bid was developed by Southwark GPs, the CCG and the local doctors’ Out of Hours co-operative, SELDOC. They have an ambitious vision of making general practice consistently accessible and responsive to patients’ needs. They want to work together to make primary care the first port of call for non-emergency care, and to offer the same, longer opening hours across the borough.

Dr Sian Howell, a local GP who helped develop the bid for Southwark, said: “We are very excited to offer better access for our patients. We know that patients can find it hard to access health care for urgent and routine needs, especially at evenings and weekends.”

She added: “All GP practices in Southwark are working together to respond to what local people have told us they need – better and more flexible access to primary care.”

The fund will mean NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group is able to set up neighbourhood access clinics by March 2015.