Primary Care appointments in Dorset are now available between 8am and 8pm seven days a week, including Bank Holidays.

Appointments can be booked either by your local practice or by the 24/7 urgent care number 111.

When you call 111 you will be assessed by a member of the team. If you need it, you may be offered a face-to-face appointment at a time and venue that suits you.

Your practice can also make you an appointment. This may not be with your usual GP, however you will see the most appropriate health professional to suit your needs, for example a local GP, nurse or advanced nurse practitioner.

The additional appointments are part of the Improving Access to General Practice Services (IAGPS) programme which will make primary care easier to access.

Along with increased access, by making it easier to get care, it is anticipated that fewer people will use services inappropriately – for example attending their local emergency department (ED/A&E) when they could be treated more effectively elsewhere.

Dr Forbes Watson is a local GP and Chair of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group:

“We want people in Dorset to get the best healthcare they can, and with this improved access we are confident that we are better able to offer the right care in the right place at the right time.

“For example, if you work in Dorchester and are registered with a practice in Weymouth, you may not be able to see a GP during working hours and may put off getting help. Now you can contact the surgery and they could make an appointment at the Weymouth Urgent Treatment Centre in the evening. By doing this you would be able to get the help you need on the same day, avoiding the potential of becoming more ill or having to seek help elsewhere.

“We hear a lot about NHS services coming under increased pressure, so we are really pleased we can offer this service to everyone in Dorset. We hope that we can make a real difference to people who need to access care, along with helping to alleviate some of the pressure and demand that the health system is experiencing.”

For more information on what is available, speak to your local practice or visit www.staywelldorset.nhs.uk.