29 November 2017

Thousands more GP appointments available in Barnet

Nearly 40,000 GP appointments available at evenings and weekends

  • GP Extended Access appointments available from 6.30pm-8.00pm weekdays and 8.00am-8.00pm on weekends
  • To book a GP Extended Access appointment you should speak to your GP surgery or call the evening and weekend service directly 020 3948 6809 (phone line operational at evenings and weekends only). 

Extra evening and weekend GP appointments are now available for patients registered with a Barnet GP. The additional appointments mean Barnet patients will now have access to GP services seven days a week, with the extra appointments available from 6.30pm-8.00pm weekdays and 8.00am-8.00pm on weekends.

The additional appointments – which can be booked via a dedicated telephone line or by speaking to your GP – mean that Barnet patients have access to GP appointments from 8.00am to 8.00pm every day of the week.

During operating hours, the appointments are provided at three locations across the borough. Different practices will offer the services on different days, so it will be important to book your appointment through the phone line or through your existing GP practice. 

Last year, 34,000 evening and weekend appointments were booked by patients in Barnet, demonstrating the high demand for the services. This year, 38,000 are being made available by Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and they are expected to be just as popular, particularly during the winter months.

Dr Debbie Frost, Chair, Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Local patients and charities have told us that evenings and weekend GP appointments are more convenient for a number of Barnet patients, particularly for those working long hours during the week or commuting during the week. The extra GP appointments proved to be extremely popular last year and – by increasing GP availability further – we hope that Barnet patients will continue to benefit from these additional services.”

These changes are part of a wider effort to improve access to GP services in Barnet. Last year, Barnet CCG rolled out GP online services to help patients book appointments and order repeat prescriptions from the comfort of their own home via their computer, phone or tablet. 1.7 million Londoners have registered for online services with 89% of those surveyed saying registering is easy to do.

The changes will also support efforts to ease the pressures expected on local urgent care services this winter. In particular, A&E departments are expected to be particularly busy and based on experiences last winter, large numbers of patients waited at A&E when they could have accessed more appropriate care more quickly elsewhere.

Dr Frost continued:

“The expansion of GP services in Barnet represents a welcome boost to the local healthcare system, which we expect to come under significant pressure this winter. We urge patients to think about the services they need to help ensure they receive the most appropriate care – if you’re not sure where to go for your care, dial 111 for fast medical advice.”

Unnecessary queues at A&E also mean that patients with critical and emergency health conditions have to wait longer for the care they urgently need. Barnet CCG advises patients with problems that aren’t life-threatening to visit their community pharmacist, contact their GP, call NHS 111 for advice or make the most of one of Barnet’s walk-in centres, located at Edgware Community Hospital, Finchley Memorial Hospital and Cricklewood Health Centre, wherever possible.

Lisa Robbins, Healthwatch Barnet Manager, said: 

“Healthwatch Barnet welcomes this service development and hopes that residents will find these additional appointments will ease the pressure on existing services in the Borough, and enable them to access more convenient GP appointments. We welcome feedback from patients on how well it is working for them.” 

To book an evening or weekend GP appointment you should speak to your GP surgery or call the evening and weekend service directly 020 3948 6809 (phone line operational at evenings and weekends only). For more information on GP online services, visit www.nhs.uk/GPonlineservices.