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Many people struggle to see their GP during normal practice operating hours. This can be due to many reasons, including work schedules or childcare needs. Improving Access Services (IAS) helps people living across East Sussex to see a GP at those time-sensitive moments by offering pre-booked appointments outside of usual GP operating hours – every evening and weekend, 7 days a week. The service was first established in Brighton & Hove, where it has run successfully for five years. I joined IAS to help roll out the service in the Lewes and High Wealds area and during this time it has been great to see the service grow and become a part of the local communities. IAS has also recently expanded to reach populations in Eastbourne, Hailsham, Bexhill and Seaford.

In July, IAS enabled 4175 patients to be seen in local GP practices near to them at a time to suit. This not only ensured that people received help when they needed it, but also eased the burden on other services, including local Accident & Emergency. In Brighton & Hove we work closely with A&E to offer suitable patients same-day GP appointments, helping to reduce pressures in that crucial part of our local National Health Service. We also integrate our services by working closely with the ‘111’ Service on weekends, offering same-day bookings to people who have been identified as needing to see a GP.

A recent survey has shown that over 98% of people using Improved Access Services would recommend it to their family and friends. It been so lovely to hear from patients how appreciative they are to be able to see a GP when it suits them and to have a 15 minute appointment with a GP. Our GPs enjoy working within the service as their admin workload is low and they can spend more time with their patients. I look forward to seeing the service grow further and how that will continue to benefit people.

Are you a GP, Practice Nurse, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Practice Pharmacist or Healthcare Assistant? If you are interested in joining the service, access our joining form here and find out more on the Improving Access Services website FAQ page.

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