I am delighted that patients in Staffordshire Moorlands will benefit from more flexible GP appointments from September under the new NHS initiative.
I believe that GPs in Staffordshire Moorlands do a fantastic job and have their patients' interests firmly at heart. The Government has committed to introducing GP services from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, in order to alleviate pressures on other parts of the NHS and I am pleased that extended opening hours will be offered at Leek Moorlands Hospital until 8pm on weekday evenings and on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The addition of services such as this at Leek Moorlands Hospital is something that I have supported and been campaigning for and I have been reassured by the CCG that they have no plans to withdraw health services from the area, but to deliver services centred around each patient and the health needs of local people.
The new service will be provided by local GP Federations and patients will be offered an appointment with the most appropriate healthcare professional. Local residents should contact their own GP surgery as normal to book an appointment.
Recent figures from the National Audit Office showed that almost half of GP surgeries were closed at some point during core hours and the Government is reaffirming its pledge to patients to roll out a 7-day NHS. I believe that these steps will improve access to primary care and reduce unnecessary admissions to A&E.
The Government wants to ensure that all GP services receive adequate support, and I am pleased to note that the NHS is devising a new funding formula to better take into account different practices' workloads, levels of deprivation and rurality. This is part of the General Practice Forward View, the NHS's own plan for improvement between 2016 and 2020.