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24 February 2011, 16:51 | Updated: 7 March 2011, 17:32
From Monday 28 February all Corby GP practices are coming together to improve access to evening and Saturday appointments for their 67,000 registered patients.
These evening and Saturday appointments – known as extended hours, as they are outside the practice’s normal working hours – are currently offered to varying degrees by GP practices in Corby.
The practices are pooling their extended hours appointments so that all patients in Corby, no matter which practice they are registered with, will be able to book an appointment from 6.30-8pm Monday-Friday and 8-11am on Saturdays at the Lakeside Plus surgery on Cottingham Road.
Patients will be able to make these appointments in exactly the same way as before, through contacting their own GP practice, and GPs from all practices will work at Lakeside Plus on a rota system.
The agreement has been brought about as part of the formation of the Corby GP Commissioning Consortium, which involves all the Corby practices coming together with a firm commitment to provide the best possible healthcare for their local population of around 67,000 registered patients.
Another benefit to the partnership is that improvements to the GP referral process have also been introduced. This allows patients to be referred between GPs if, for example, another GP has specialist knowledge which would assist in providing the best possible care and advice for a patient. GPs are also beginning to seek second opinions from GP colleagues before referring patients to other healthcare services.
The consortium will improve and drive forward healthcare services in the area, and is already planning a range of improvements to meet the GPs ambition to build the best possible healthcare services for the people of Corby. The consortium is preparing an application to the Department of Health to become a ‘Pathfinder’, a status which highlights the partnership as a progressive organisation leading the way in implementing GP commissioning arrangements.
Dr Miten Ruparelia of Woodsend Medical Centre said, “As a local GP and patient in Corby, I feel this is a great step taken by Corby GPs to improve access to health services for all our patients. As GPs we are looking forward to working as a team with all our colleagues to improve the care we provide for our patients.”
Dr Peter Wilczynski, Chair of the Corby GP Commissioning Consortium, said: “This is an exciting time for Corby general practioners and their patients. By working collaboratively we will be able to extend the availability of health care and give patient more choice.”