Wave one testimonials

Healthcare professionals

Dr Peter Thomas – Mile Lane Surgery, Bury

“Bury’s Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund pilot has proven to be an excellent opportunity to transform how patients can access local GPs.  It has helped us to lift some of the restrictions on when, where and how patients can get an appointment with a GP.  This means patients have more flexibility to choose an appointment that best fits their everyday lives and meets their needs.

“It also offers benefits for our GPs and practice staff, relieving the pressure on an individual practice as colleagues from other practices can help take the strain of offering more appointments in the evening, at weekends and on bank holidays. These services are proving very popular with patients, particularly those with work, education or family commitments during normal surgery hours.  The support we have received from this national initiative has helped us establish a valuable new service for patients for the foreseeable future.”

Graeme Clelland – Managing Director, Taurus Healthcare Ltd, Herefordshire

“Through wave one of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund we have developed a countywide GP and Primary Care service that is delivered outside of normal practice opening times via three hubs. These are strategically placed throughout the county, offering extended access to a full range of Primary Care Services. By establishing an IT and integrated governance infrastructure that allows for the legally compliant sharing of a Patient’s Home Practice Primary care Record we are able to see any patient any time anywhere in any one of our Hubs. This is a real step forward from traditional out of hours service provision. We have integrated in to 111 Care Pathways, and we are having a large number of patients that would ordinarily have attended A&E on a weekend, sent to our service – and the patient feedback has been excellent. Last week alone, our team of clinicians saw over 400 patients, who have all benefited from the 7 Day extended access program. Changing the patient’s perception of the way services are accessed has been the key to our success, and working collaboratively with the practices and their patients we have delivered a service that shows benefit to the entire community”

Jon Biggs – Project Manager for the South Kent Coast PMCF pilot

“The patients we have spoken to so far have been very pleased that they can now book an on the day appointment with a GP, or an appointment outside of their working hours, and on the weekends. The GPs and practice staff have noticed a significant reduction in the pressure they were experiencing from day to day, and the GPs especially have found that the Paramedic Practitioner (PP) urgent visiting service has enabled them to give more focused and more timely care to their registered patients due to the reduced need to leave the surgery at short notice to see house bound patients with urgent health needs.

“Overall, the patients of Folkestone and Dover are now able to access GP appointments 8am-8pm 7 days a week in addition to what they can already get from their GP practice. One of the greatest benefits of the PMCF pilot on the South Kent Coast has been the sharing of the GP held clinical records which has enabled us to give these patients a full GP service whilst maintaining continuity of care.

“Before the pilot started, GP practices were struggling to find enough clinical staff to provide enough appointments to fulfil demand. Now, the problem is drastically reduced and patients can get an appointment with the most appropriate clinician, at the most appropriate time.”

Sarb Basi – Birmingham HUB

“We now have over 65% of our patients being dealt with within one hour of contacting a practice, with a new clinical contact centre supporting patients to gain faster access to doctors and nurses across our practices. As a result, we’re providing access to over 10 per cent more patients through the model, during the normal working week and on an extended basis, in evenings and on Saturdays.

“We also have patients accessing the service through new online and app based access services, providing modern, mobile and multi-lingual means for patients to be able to contact and receive both clinical consultations and treatments.

“We serve one of the most diverse and deprived communities of the United Kingdom. If it can be done for our population we are confident that the model we have adopted can be done across the country. Indeed, over 70 per cent of our patients say that the new services are better than what they had before. Here’s two recent quotes from our patients:

“As a long term local patient I’m hugely impressed with this new service offered by our surgery. As well as making it easier to make contact, to book appointments and get support from the surgery, these new systems offer new routes to rapid and excellent professional advice and reassurance.’

“Just a quick note to congratulate you on the Vitality Partnership app. Personally I think this is a great app which has allowed me to connect very easily and quickly to my doctor.”

Dr Martin Walls – a GP in Morecambe

“As a result of the PMCF pilot funding in Morecambe and Lancaster patients have been able to access their local GP 12 hours per day and seven days per week. The major benefit is for patients who usually find it difficult to access primary are due to work arrangements, the new service provides appointments all weekend up until 19.30 on a Sunday evening.”

Dr Chris Jones – Programme Director, Wakefield

“Being involved in the first wave of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund has improved access for patients through extended hours over 7 days, social prescribing, new digital access channels and a wider team including front line physiotherapists and pharmacy advice. This channelling of certain types of problem to more suitable professionals allows GP time to be better spent with patients with more complex needs and long-term conditions. Care navigators will be transforming the experience of visiting surgeries. This whole process has allowed us to envision a new way of working that is sustainable and has formed the basis of our successful bid to be a Vanguard site. This will allow us to continue to innovate and build a fully integrated model of bigger primary care fit for the future.”

Dr Jim O’Donnell – Chair of NHS Slough CCG

“The pilot built on what we had already – a dedicated, motivated team of GPs who care about the service that patients receive that is cohesive and inspired. We also have fantastic patient representatives in practices who gave us amazing help in working with us across Slough to gather patient perspectives that really informed and guided us.

“The bid process itself helped us distil the elements that mattered most. Our local area team in NHS England Thames Valley gave us excellent support and advice. We rolled out the extended service inside three months, in July 2014, showing what can be achieved when everyone works together. We have over 97% patient satisfaction rates, and 94% would recommend the service to family and friends. We’ve seen a 22% fall in demands made on our out-of-hours service, and numbers from Slough attending our local A&E and of emergency admissions have now started to fall month-on-month. This has really improved things for patients and their comments are illuminating, as are those of GPs and staff working in the service:

“It has been a wonderful experience for patients, local residents, GPs and practice staff alike” said one patient. “Everyone is delighted at what has been achieved. Appointments are typically 15 minutes – much longer than is usual – and the pace is much more relaxed. You have time to tell your story and the GP or nurse has time to listen. It is a real innovation”.

“I can get to see my own GP at a time that fits in with my busy job and my family commitments without disrupting either. I can now give adequate attention to my health needs, and this encourages me to look after my health more carefully and conscientiously” said a working mother of three.

“It is clear to me that a 7-day GP service is here to stay in Slough, and this will be one of the legacies of the pilot. Perhaps the most valuable legacy however is the confirmation to GPs and practices that we achieve for patients whatever we set out to, because we have the necessary conviction and determination.”



“As a long term local patient I’m hugely impressed with this new service offered by our surgery. As well as making it easier to make contact, to book appointments and get support from the surgery, these new systems offer new routes to rapid and excellent professional advice and reassurance.”


“I am really impressed with the efficiency of the new telephone service. I rang this morning and got an appointment for this afternoon!”

“Perfect when you work late, thought service was brilliant.”

“Brilliant, I didn’t think I’d get an appointment today.”

“I don’t have to phone as soon as the surgery opens and wait in a phone queue for an on the day consultations anymore.”

“Patients don’t have to take time off work to receive treatment. That has got to be a good thing.”


“I think this trial should be common practice, as it’s too hard to get an appointment to fit in with my shifts.”

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

“A lot faster, no waiting at the end of the day”

“I rang at 8.10 am concerned about my daughter, was called back by a GP and seen in surgery before 9.00am, fantastic!” Patient


“I work full time – 44 miles away, so I’m unable to visit my GP during surgery hours unless I take a day off sick or holiday. This availability during a Saturday is fantastic.”

“I’m self-employed so this service to me is convenient to say the least. First class!”

“Quick and efficient service, especially for a Saturday – it’s a great idea for a weekend clinic and there’s really helpful and friendly staff running it. Thanks.”

“I work away from home all week, and find it difficult to see my own GP in the week, so to have access to see a GP on a Saturday for me is very important.”

“To visit my Doctor I need childcare but now I can visit on a Sunday I am able to leave with my Mum. It really has been a great help.”


“This Prime Minister’s scheme is really great. I usually struggle to get to see you, and now because there are more appointments I came here today and got straight in to see you. It’s such a long time since that’s happened.”

“She gave me the appointment time and it was 7:45 in the evening; I said ‘Do you mean 7:45 in the morning? And she said ‘No, it is 7:45 in the evening’. I was so surprised I had no idea you were working.”