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Saturday opening for surgeries in Newbury pilot scheme

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The pilot scheme was rolled out by the Newbury and District Clinical Commission-ing Group (CCG) in early October and will run until the end of March.
Nine of the 11 surgeries in the CCG patch, which covers most of West Berkshire, have signed up to the trial. These are Northcroft, Eastfield House and Falkland surgeries in Newbury and those in Kintbury, Woolton Hill, Chieveley, Thatcham, Hunger-ford and Chapel Row.
Emergency and pre-booked appointments are available, as well as Saturday nurse appointments at some surgeries.
Each surgery can decide its opening times, however it will typically be during Saturday mornings and early afternoons.
The clinical chairman of the Newbury and District CCG, Dr Abid Irfan, said: “It will provide additional appointments for our patients who, for example, commute or are working full-time and find it difficult to get to the surgery during the week.
“Patients can also use the surgery in other ways, such as to collect prescriptions, pick up results and make appointments.
“Access to urgent appointments closer to home we think will help reduce inappropriate A&E attendances.”
Emergency department consultant at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, Dr Rosie Hancock, said: “This is really good news and will be a great help to both patients and ourselves.
“The weekends are very busy and this will mean shorter waiting times for patients who do come here.
“As a rule of thumb, we would suggest that if it is the kind of minor ailment or injury which you would usually go to your GP with, then that is the right place to go.
“If you are in any doubt, contact your GP or call the 111 service to get their advice. If you believe it really is an emergency then please do come to us – that's what we are here for.”
Funding for the project has been made available in the CCG’s annual budget. Weekday GP working hours will not be affected.
The pilot follows the approval of a new ‘super surgery’ for Newbury town centre, in which Northcroft and St Mary's surgeries will move into former offices at Strawberry Hill House, which will provide space for an as yet unspecified number of new patients.

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