Gloucestershire’s 83 GP practices have been successful in securing £4m of national funding to provide local people with better and more flexible access to GP services.

Working closely with NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the practices submitted their bid to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund in January through their jointly owned GP Provider Company.

Work to implement the developments, which will see increased access to GP care between 8am – 8pm (Monday – Friday) and at weekends, 100,000 additional appointments and a greater use of technology and online services, will get underway in April.

Dr Jonathan Unwin, GP and Chairman of the Gloucestershire GP Provider Company, said:

“I am delighted that we have been successful in securing this funding, which will make a real difference to how we provide services. The fact that every one of Gloucestershire’s practices is working together on this shows there is a shared commitment to do the best for patients in all localities.”

When up and running later in the year, patients will be able to pre-book these additional appointments by calling their GP surgery. Each of the county’s seven GP localities will be looking at existing local healthcare facilities to provide these services from.

With stronger links to out of hours services and an additional 100,000 appointments available each year, surgeries will have more time to spend with higher risk patients, such as frail and older people with multiple conditions, including those who may already be in contact with Rapid Response services.

This additional capacity, along with a 240 hour increase in specialist nursing time, will also enable practice staff to work more closely with other health, social care and community partners.

Technology developments will offer patients video consultations and e-consultations will be provided for another 150,000 patients. Building on the county’s ASAP campaign (including the healthcare App) further developments will support people to access information about local services.

A number of ‘social prescribing’ pilots are already operating across the county, linking patients with sources of non-medical support in their communities. The funding will support the CCG to extend services across all practices, with up to 450 patients being managed at any one time.

Dr Andy Seymour, Deputy Clinical Chair at the CCG said:

“This is very positive news for Gloucestershire’s patients, and we were very pleased to support the Gloucestershire Provider Company in putting this bid together. Clearly these new developments will take some time to put into place across the board, but there is real enthusiasm and determination to get things right for patients. We will need to work closely together to ensure services are sustainable into the future.”