What extra health services do we need? Have your say in plans to boost provision

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Patients in north Norfolk and rural Broadland are set to benefit from improved access to local GP services through a new pilot project.

An alliance of GP practices in the area are exploring options for extending practice hours into evenings and weekends and providing patients with increased access to a range of healthcare professionals.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk said: 'There has been much debate both locally and nationally about how access to GP services should be extended.

'This project gives local people a real opportunity to shape the future services they will receive.'

James Leeming, chief executive of North Norfolk Primary Care (NNPC), said: 'There is a government drive to improve access to GP services nationwide and there has been a lot of press around the possibility of opening local surgeries 8am to 8pm, seven days per week.

'Our aim is to create a fully functioning model that not only offers patients additional access but also a choice of appointment types and access to a variety of clinicians.

'This will not only give patients better access to services but will protect the existing individual practices, who already face a huge workload.'

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'The survey and workshop events, in conjunction with Healthwatch Norfolk, will allow us to engage with local patients and get a true understanding of the services our population need. This is a fantastic opportunity for local people to really have a say in how new NHS services are developed on a local level.'

He added: 'NNPC are committed to developing innovative ideas to ensure that the improved access we offer meets the needs of all patients living in the communities we serve.'

Visit www.healthwatchnorfolk.co.uk/haveyoursay to take part in a survey or pick up a copy from a GP surgery in the areas covered.

The closing date is Friday, March 2.

Feedback can also be given about GPs and NHS dentists, as well as all hospital, mental health, community health, care homes and other social care services.

Anyone interested in discussing the plans in more detail can attend an event at The ACT Centre, St Michael's Avenue, Aylsham, from 2pm to 5pm on Monday, March 5.

To book, visit www.healthwatchnorfolk.co.uk/events or call 0808 168 9669.

-See here for a map of practices covered northnorfolkccg.nhs.uk/member-practices