GPs to extend opening hours

PATIENTS in Suffolk will now be able to visit their GPs in the mornings, evenings and weekends, it emerged today.

PATIENTS in Suffolk will now be able to visit their GPs in the mornings, evenings and weekends, it emerged today.

GP surgeries across the county are now opening for longer to give patients the chance to see doctors before or after work.

After a new contract was negotiated between the surgeries and Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) 45 of the 68 GP practices in the county agreed to extended opening hours, some adding an extra eight hours a week to their availability.

Bill Robinson, chief executive of the Local Medical Committee, the body which represents GPs, said: “I think it gives people better access to services, especially if they find it difficult to get to their GP.

“However it continues to provide an extra demand on GPs because these are additional hours.”

All GP practices have to be available from 8am to 6.30pm on Monday to Friday, but now some will open as early as 7am.

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Melanie Craig, deputy director of performance at Suffolk PCT, said: “This is extremely good news for patients trying to juggle busy lives who sometimes find it difficult to get to their GP practice for a routine appointment.

“The practices themselves have responded to the needs of their patients. For example, several of the Ipswich practices are now holding 7am to 8pm surgeries, which should make it easier for employees to see their GP before heading off to work.”

GP surgeries which are extending their opening hours will receive more money in return for the extra workload.

Do you want GP surgeries to be open for longer? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

The GP practices offering longer opening hours include:

Bildeston: Health Centre

Felixstowe: Central Surgery

Felixstowe: Haven Health

Felixstowe: Howard House Surgery

Felixstowe: Walton Surgery

Framlingham: The Surgery

Hadleigh: Health Centre

Ipswich: Barrack Lane Medical Practice

Ipswich: Burlington Road

Ipswich: Chesterfield Drive

Ipswich: Derby Road

Ipswich: Felixstowe Road

Ipswich: Ivry Street

Ipswich: Landseer Road

Ipswich: Orchard Medical Practice

Ipswich: Ravenswood Medical Centre

Ipswich: Woodbridge Road

Kesgrave: Birches Medical Centre

Martlesham Heath: The Square

Mendlesham: Health Centre

Needham Market: County Practice

Stowmarket: Stowhealth

Woodbridge: Framfield House Surgery

Woodbridge: Little St John's Street