Bristol residents to get weekend and evening GP appointments

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Bristol West and Minister for Communities, is today announcing that, by next year, people in the South West will be able to see a GP, nurse or primary care professional in the evenings and at weekends, or speak to one by phone, video or email.

key_nhs.jpgSpeaking at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, he will also outline the Government’s intention for the NHS and GPs to offer patients more tests, treatments and services closer to their home, avoiding unnecessary trips to hospital.

In the South West region alone, almost £29 million in extra local funding is to be invested in the NHS next year. This will fund improvements to GP access, the modernisation of surgeries and improvements to out-of-hospital care.

For patients, this will mean:

Greater convenience with more appointments in the evenings and at weekends, plus the option for video, email and telephone consultations;

  • Increase clinical space, and modernisation of existing practices, across the South West region through expansion of GP surgeries; and
  • More tests, treatments and services closer to people’s homes.

Across the country the Government is investing £550m in improvements to surgeries and the health service, with the aim of providing three million more appointments a year – the equivalent of 8,000 a day. 

Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West and Minister for Communities, said:

“I am delighted to announce that thousands of people across Bristol will by the end of the year find it much easier to see their GP through evening and weekend appointments, and online consultations.

“This crucial funding will help to ensure that people are given more support, more of the time and I believe it is absolutely right that the NHS caters to the needs of the public.”

Norman Lamb MP, the Minister for Care, said:

“We want to have a fairer society, and that means better care, closer to home for everyone. Today’s announcement helps patients get easier access to their GP.

“Our investment in out of hospital care will not only improve and join up services where people live but also keep people healthier in the community for longer.”

£12.4 million of this money is part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to improve patient access to local GP services.  This includes extended evening and weekend opening hours for 1.5 million people registered in 191 practices can juggle trips to the GP with their busy family and working lives.

This follows an initial set of practices trialling this new method – backed by £50 million – which improved access for 7.5 million people across the country, helped reduce A&E attendances, and relieve pressure on hard-pressed GP surgeries. This included the One Care Consortium pilot in Bristol.

As part of the funding, GPs across 105 practices in the South West will benefit from an estimated £16.8 million to pay for extension of current buildings to add 20 additional clinical rooms, providing more chemotherapy services in the community.





Prime Ministers Challenge Fund Wave One Funding


Allocation 14/15

Sustainability Funding 15/16


One Care Consortium (Bristol)




Shaping Services to Meet Community Needs (Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly)









Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund Wave Two Funding


Patient population

GP practices covered


"SUCCESS" - Improving access to general practice (SWINDON)




Joining Up Your Primary Care in GLOUCESTERSHIRE












Infrastructure Funding


2015/16 funding total

No. of Practices





Top facts

The Government’s £550 million of funding is allocated through three funds:

Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund

The £100m extension to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, originally announced in September will support 1,417 practices across the country. 

This means 10 million more people will be offered increased access to their GP services, including  weekday evenings and weekend appointments, , and more video, email and telephone consultations.

There will be three million more appointments a year – the equivalent of 8,000 a day. 

This follows the success of an initial £50 million access fund, covering more than 1,100 practices that benefits over 7.5 million people. 

Early evidence shows the pilots have helped to reduce A&E attendances, and relieve pressure on hard-pressed GP surgeries

Infrastructure fund

The £250 million infrastructure fund, originally announced in the Autumn Statement, will modernise GP practices. 

More than 900 practices, serving more than 8.5 million people will be able to expand or redevelop their existing practices, embracing new technology and creating more space to offer more appointments. 

The fund will support some practices to offer a wider range of additional services including onsite pharmacists, speech therapists, minor surgery, and diagnostic tests. 

Transformation fund

The £200 million transformation fund was announced in the Autumn Statement to start the innovation needed to ensure a sustainable NHS in future.

Earlier this month NHS England announced the first 29 areas of the country receiving a share of the money to redesign care in their areas.

These “vanguards” will join up specialist doctors, social workers, mental health workers, nurses and GPs, to provide more joined up, proactive care.

For example, this could mean: fewer trips to hospitals as cancer and dementia specialists and GPs work in new teams; a single point of access for family doctors, community nurses, social and mental health services; and access to tests, dialysis or chemotherapy much closer to home.

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