Busy Northampton GP surgery applies to open at night and at weekends

St Luke's Health Centre
St Luke's Health Centre

A doctor's surgery in Northampton whose lengthy waiting times were looked into by the Health Secretary is applying for longer opening hours.

In what will be seen as a relief for patients, St Luke's Primary Care Centre in Duston, has applied to open between 8am and 8pm seven days a week. It currently closes at 6.30pm Monday to Friday and is closed at weekends.

A spokeswoman for St Lukes Practice said that, although managers have no immediate plans to effect the changes immediately, it does give them the option in the future.

She said: "If the planning application is successful it provides St Lukes with the option to increase access for its patients should this be required, which would complement the GP Extended Access service."

Lengthy waiting times for appointments have been a longstanding problem for the Timken Way surgery.

In March 2017, then MP David Mackintosh raised the issue in public, before securing a meeting with then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about the issue.

And a patient survey taken in 2018 shows only 55 per cent of people were satisfied with the appointment offered, among the worst 25 per cent of surgeries nationally.

St Luke's patients - in common with all others under NHS Nene - have been able to get out-of-hours appointments at other surgeries since October 2018 through the GP Extended Access service.

But if councillors give the green light to extended hours, it will allow St Luke's patients to see their own GP during those times.

In addition, the practice has introduced a new telephone system which provides patients with the option to speak with a patient liaison secretary about their referral.

The spokeswoman said: "This has freed up the receptionist’s time to deal with other patient enquiries and means patients requiring a referral are able to speak to a practice representative more quickly.”