NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is building on its new extended access scheme with the introduction of physiotherapy appointments on evenings and weekends from today (4 July 2018).

Since the end of March 2018, people living in the Greater Huddersfield area have been able to visit a GP after work and on weekends as part of the new improved access scheme. The CCG awarded the contract for the scheme to out-of-hours provider Local Care Direct working with My Health Huddersfield (MHH) Ltd, a federation of local GP practices.

To date, over 3,000 additional appointments have been provided across the primary care ‘hub’ at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and some local GP practices. Usage of the scheme in its first nine weeks was 89.6%. This is really positive news because it means that many people are finding these evening and weekend appointments more convenient for them. In addition, this will have had the knock-on effect of freeing up more ‘regular’ appointments for people who are able to see a GP during the day on weekdays.

Now the extended access scheme is being developed further with the introduction of physiotherapy appointments on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings from next month. The extended access scheme was developed following considerable engagement with local patients, many of whom did express an interest in being able to access physiotherapy appointments on evenings and weekends.

Dr Yusuf Shamsee, MHH Director and the clinical lead for the extended access scheme, said:
“These appointments are not intended to replace the normal physiotherapy service for people with long-term problems but they are suitable for patients who would benefit from physiotherapy to help restore movement and function, after an injury or illness for example. In such cases, having a physiotherapy session is often more beneficial than seeing a GP and physiotherapists are able to advise patients on how to deal with their short-term problem, to avoid it becoming a long-term problem.”

There are ‘pre-bookable’ and ‘on-the-day’ physiotherapy appointments which can be accessed through your own GP practice. Appointment times are between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 9.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays.

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair or NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said:
“Patients have been telling us how they feel reassured that there is now improved access to GPs seven days a week and we are pleased that we can now extend that to offer physiotherapy appointments for those who are unable to attend sessions during regular ‘working’ hours.”