New research suggests that GP seven day opening hours reduces A&E attendance

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The Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund (PMCF) was set up across the country in 2013 to facilitate GP surgeries opening seven days a week and address a steady rising demand for A&E treatment.

GP with patient

A steady rising demand for treatment in A&E has been a major concern for the NHS and Department of Health (DoH). As a result, the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund (PMCF) was set up across the country in 2013 to facilitate GP surgeries opening seven days a week. The PMCF also supports the treatment of patients in clinically more appropriate settings and closer to home.

North West London was the largest national pilot site for the PMCF, enabling 1.9 million North West London residents to access GP services at weekends. Whilst the main aim was to improve access to GPs, research from four Westminster surgeries into the impact on GP seven day opening hours shows that there is also a potential reduction in patient’s attendance to A&E.

Seven-day opening hours at the Westminster GP surgeries resulted in:

  • almost a ten per cent (9.9) reduction in A&E attendance over the entire week from patients registered at the pilot GP surgeries
  • an 11.5 per cent drop in A&E admissions of patients aged 60 years and above from these surgeries.

The biggest impact on A&E attendance during the pilot was at the weekends, in cases where patients would usually have to wait until Monday to access GP appointments and in cases with a mild to moderate severity.

The North West London Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) anticipate that the new Prime Minister’s Access Fund (the successor to the PMCF) will further improve access to general practice for local residents, including ongoing seven-day opening. This will be part of the broader transformation of local general practice to support the delivery of more accessible, joined up care, in line with the Strategic Commissioning Framework developed by the London CCGs and NHS England.

For further information please contact Ayesha Baker, Communications Officer, North West London Collaboration of CCGs on 020 3350 4639 or at Ayesha.Baker@nw.london.nhs.uk

[ENDS]

Notes to editors

  1. For more information on the pilot, a full version of the research paper ‘Averting an Accident: Can 7-Day GP Opening Save Accident and Emergency?’ has been published by the Journal of Health Economics and is available for purchase. Paid access to the research paper and an abstract can be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629616300236
  1. North West London was the largest national pilot site in the first wave of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund (PMCF). This is a £50m initiative to help improve access to general practice and stimulate innovative ways of providing primary care services. Find out more here: https://www.healthiernorthwestlondon.nhs.uk/bettercare/yourgp/challengefund
  1. We are a collaboration of the eight NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in North West London who are working with patients and the public to design, develop and implement major transformation programmes to improve healthcare services for the two million residents who live there: www.healthiernorthwestlondon.nhs.uk