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Bury St Edmunds MP officially opens pilot out-of-hours GP service in town





Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill launching Suffolk GP Plus at the Swan Surgery in Bury St Edmunds ANL-151221-005203009
Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill launching Suffolk GP Plus at the Swan Surgery in Bury St Edmunds ANL-151221-005203009

A pilot healthcare service giving additional out-of-hours GP appointments has been officially opened in Bury St Edmunds by the town’s MP.

Suffolk GP+, an NHS service providing GP appointments on evenings, weekends and bank holidays, was officially opened by Jo Churchill MP at the Swan Surgery in Northgate Street on December 18.

Additional appointments started being offered in Bury on December 7. The service also runs in Ipswich, where it started in late September and has been helping to ease winter pressure on A&E departments.

Mrs Churchill said: “GP+ is a great idea. Patient outcomes have to be the top of everyone’s wish list and this certainly ticks the box.”

In Suffolk the service is staffed by a bank of 75 GPs and 24 nurse practitioners, who work two or three additional shifts each month for GP+ while continuing to work at their own GP practices.

More than 2,500 appointments have been made and feedback has shown that 27 per cent of patients would have gone to A&E, called the NHS 111 service or even dialled 999 had GP+ not been offered.

GP+ has received positive feedback, with 99 per cent of patients saying they would be likely to recommend the service to friends and family.

In Bury and Ipswich, a touch screen patient feedback system has been installed and feedback is being used to refine the pilot service.

Suffolk GP+ appointments are offered at the Swan Surgery from 6.30pm to 9pm on weekday evenings and from 9am to 2pm at weekends and bank holidays.

Patients can make appointments by contacting their GP practice in the usual way.

The service is also working with local hospitals, the ambulance service and NHS 111. Paramedics attending 999 calls have the option to contact Suffolk GP+ where the patient is assessed as needing to see a GP rather than go to A&E.