Primary and urgent care survey - extended hours

Many of the comments in the survey were about making appointments, including the frustrations of not being able to get through to the surgery on the phone, being unable to see the GP for both routine and urgent appointments at GP practices.

Suggestions were about improving access and extended hours, especially for those who work longer hours.

We asked people how useful they would find different appointment times (see Table 8 below) and which of these times, if any, they would be likely to use (see Figure 4).

Table 8: Usefulness of extended hours

Thinking about more routine appointments, how useful would you find the following times:

  not useful at all of little use neither useful or not very useful extremely useful Sum of: very and extremely
weekday, late evening (n=5,599) 14 11 18 33 24 57
weekday, early morning (n=5,645) 14 12 18 36 20 56
Saturday (n=5,631) 9 9 19 41 23 64
Sunday (n=5,041) 16 12 23 31 19 50

Figure 4: Extended hours most likely to use

The most popular extended time was Saturday with two thirds of people thinking it would be useful, followed by weekday late evenings and weekday early mornings.

Just over a third of the sample said they were happy with the existing times, and wouldn’t use extended times. Nearly 40% would use weekday evenings and Saturdays. Only 20% of respondents said they would be likely to use Sunday appointments.

I work 12 hour shifts for the NHS hospital so it's hard to get an appointment to see my Dr as I don't finish work till 8pm at night so would be nice if the Dr's surgery would stay open till 9.30pm in case I need to see my GP that would help not only me but for other people as well who work in the NHS.

Change the way appointments are made. It should be possible to make an appointment today for tomorrow or the next day and not have to make it on the day. Many of us work with conditions that need treatment but our working hours make it difficult to make a phone call. If we could phone on our days off to pre book an appointment for when we are next off it would help. Shift work is now common place and we can't afford to miss work.

There is a substantial difference between older and younger people.

A higher proportion of older people those over the age of 65 said that they were happy with current opening times (46%), and fewer were interested in using other opening times. Conversely, only 18% of the younger age group said that they were happy with current opening times, and would not use other sessions. A higher proportion of the younger people said they would be interested in weekday evening and weekend sessions. Given that the survey has a higher proportion of older people who answered it, the interest in extended hours may be under-estimated here.

Fewer carers of children were happy with current opening hours (14%) than the general population, and a higher proportion were interested in week day evening openings (62%) and Saturdays (46%).

A smaller proportion of working age people with long term conditions were happy with existing surgery times (25%) and a higher proportion would like week day evening surgeries (46%), Saturdays (41%) and Sundays (25%). [15]

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