The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, made a clear commitment to the future of general practice, with primary and community care set to receive at least £4.5 billion more a year by 2023/24, in real terms.
Evening and weekend general practice appointments are routinely available across the country to enable patients to find appointments at a time convenient to them, with millions of patients having already benefitted from this.
NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has a GP Hubs service in the city, which means appointments are available in evenings, weekends and bank holidays. During 2018 the CCG also carried out a procurement process and confirmed that Southampton Primary Care Limited is now providing the new Extended and Urgent Primary Care Services contract. This began in June 2019 and patients can book appointments directly through NHS 111 out of hours and by contacting their own GP practice during normal opening hours, as has been the case previously. The CCG also found that not enough people were aware of the GP Hubs services, following feedback from patient groups in the summer of 2018. Therefore, promoting the GP Hubs has formed a central part of the CCG’s marketing plan and continues to be through the winter of 2019/20.