Expanding GP+ out-of-hours service is helping to alleviate pressures on NHS in Suffolk

Dr Paul Driscoll, medical director of the Suffolk GP Federation.Picture: SU ANDERSON

Dr Paul Driscoll, medical director of the Suffolk GP Federation.Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

Injured patients who need physiotherapy out of normal working hours will now be able to get help in Ipswich.

The appointments will be made available as part of Suffolk GP Federation’s GP+ service, which provides care after work, at weekends and bank holidays.

As well as the new physiotherapy support in Ipswich, the organisation is continuing to expand GP+ across the county by recruiting extra GPs, nurse practitioners and nurse prescribers.

Paul Driscoll, Suffolk GP Federation’s medical director, said: “By introducing additional clinicians and a greater range of skills we can ensure that patients are always seen by the right healthcare professional.

“If patients have hurt their knee or shoulder for example it is often more appropriate for them to see a physio rather than a GP. Similarly, by drawing on the expertise of nurse practitioners and nurse prescribers it will allow doctors to spend more time with those who need them most.”

Suffolk GP+ launched almost two years ago and has provided more than 37,000 extra out-of-hours appointments across its six locations: Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Stowmarket, Wickham Market and Leiston.

Dr Driscoll said the service was helping to release pressure on busy GP surgeries and hospital emergency departments in Suffolk.

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“We would encourage patients to ask their surgery for a GP+ appointment if they feel it would be more convenient,” he said.

“Since its launch the service has expanded considerably and has helped to alleviate some of the strain currently faced by the NHS in Suffolk – reducing pressure on both general practice and hospital emergency departments by allowing patients to attend an appointment that fits in with their working day.”

Patients can access GP+ by contacting their surgery in the normal way. If appropriate they will then be referred and allocated an appointment at a suitable time.

During the week, they can also be referred to Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds when they call NHS 111.

GP+ opening hours are:

• 6.30pm - 9pm weekdays all locations

• 9am - 9pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays in Ipswich

• 9am – 2pm on Saturdays and bank holidays in Bury St Edmunds

• 9am – 1pm on Saturdays and bank holidays all other locations

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