Improving access to GP services

Improving access to GP services

There was a national requirement to increase the access to GP services across England and Wales by providing evening (6:30pm - 8:00pm) and weekend appointments.

Some surgeries in our area already provide a limited evening and weekend service but the CCG wants to ensure everyone in the Vale of York is served equally.

An improved service would allow:

  • an increase of same day appointments;
  • the availability of routine appointments in the evening and/or at  weekends;
  • these appointments would be provided by a mix of clinicians such as GPs, nurses and pharmacists, scheduled appropriately to your medical needs.

Between February and April 2018 we gave our population the opportunity to think about their needs are and then tell us how they would like the service to be delivered.

How did we engage with our population?

  • Face-to-face events: We held pop-up stalls at York railway station to catch evening commuters, Selby Patient Participation Group, West Offices Reception drop-in session, York College and Tesco Askham Bryan.
  • Email: The link to the survey was sent to our stakeholder list and included businesses within the Vale of York, schools and colleges, GP surgeries, health partners, councils and voluntary sector.
  • Stakeholder networks: We used our links with our partners and stakeholders to promote the survey on our behalf via groups such as Patient participation groups, Healthwatch, Health partners Carers, Voluntary sector groups.
  • Newsletters: An article was published in our stakeholder newsletter, internal staff engagement newsletter and via councils’ staff newsletter.
  • Media: We had an article published in the York Press.
  • Social media: Regular tweets about the survey were posted and we asked our networks to paste the link on their social media pages.
  • Paper copies: A hard copy of the GP access survey was sent out to our partners, GP practices and voluntary sector groups and networks.
  • Website: Information was posted on our website.
  • Working with our learning disability community: We worked with York People First to produce an Easy Read Version, which was distributed via their networks and GP surgeries.

Copies of the survey:

Here are copies of the survey (which has now closed) so you can view the questions we asked our community.


How did we review our engagement activity?

During our engagement period we were able to look at the equality monitoring information to establish who had completed the survey.

At the initial stages of the survey period we were mainly receiving responses from our population in the 65 and over age range. As the GP evening and weekend hours may benefit those who may be occupied during the day (caring, working or in education) we wanted to target a wider range of our population. We also noticed a lower take up of people who considered themselves to have a learning disability/difficulty.

We decided to target some specific areas of our population:

  • Commuters by giving out leaflets at rail stations early morning and evening.
  • Large employers within York – by emailing staff comms teams at Nestle, Aviva and the Council  
  • Students by and re-sent information to universities and speaking to students at York College during a health and wellbeing day.
  • We also worked with York People First (an advocacy group run by Trustees who all have a learning difficulty) who sent out the survey with their newsletter, and spoke to


Responses to the survey:

We have received  1,043 responses through a mixture of online surveys and paper questionnaires.

We were pleased to see in the responses that people heard about the survey through all of these channels.

Where people found out about our survey:

Where they received the survey

Percentage of responses

GP practice


Local Press


CCG website


Other website








Given survey


Other –


28.35  (Highest responses include through work (Nestle), Local library and University)


What next?

The feedback was analysed and has been used to inform the development of the evening and weekend service across the Vale of York patch. We will continue to work with our population to shape how the service is delivered, to ensure that it meets the needs of our community.


How we have told our public about the new service and how their views have been incorporated into the new service:


You said, we did:

Here is an example of some of the patient feedback that shaped the evening and weekend appointments in the North Locality (covering Pickering, Easingwold, Tollerton, Terrington, Helmsley, Kirkbymoorside and Stillington).

You said

We did/we are doing

I would like to have a telephone conversation with my GP

Practices in the North already provide telephone access to most GPs.

I would like be prepared to have a consultation on over the internet

In December the Improving Access to GP hubs in Easingwold/Pickering introduced ‘PushDoctor’ which works in a similar way to FaceTime, offering booked appointment slots to talk to the GP face to face via a very simple app. The doctor can then also view anything of concern and advise or request the patient to come in for a regular appointment.

I would be happy to see a clinician from another practice for one-off care needs

The practices in the North Locality are working out of two hubs in Easingwold and the clinicians are covering these hubs between them. Patient will be seeing other practice clinicians for these appointments. GP and patient feedback so far has been good .

It would be good to have appointments at weekends or evenings for services such as blood tests, smear test/contraception, long term conditions or health checks.

The North Locality is not currently offering appointments for specific areas. However, the area is training to set up group sessions around long term conditions, sexual health and women’s health. These will be available on weekends. Healthcare assistants have starting training to take bloods. These services should be available part way through 2019.

Saturday morning would be the most appropriate time for weekend appointments

There is two hours cover every Saturday 10am-midday in the North Locality.