MORE than 250,000 patients in the York area will soon be able to visit or talk to a GP or other healthcare professional in the evening, at weekends and on bank holidays.

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has awarded Nimbuscare Ltd - a group of 12 local GP practices in York and Pocklington - a contract to deliver a new extended access primary care service.

Appointments, pre-bookable by phoning local surgeries or by contacting NHS 111, will be available between 6.30pm and 8pm each weekday, with additional slots available at weekends and bank holidays.

The new service will be available to patients at these practices from early autumn: Haxby Group, Priory Medical Group, York Medical Group, East Parade, Old School, Front Street, Unity, My Health, Jorvik Gillygate, Pocklington, Elvington and Dalton Terrace. It will be based at four hub sites: Cornlands Road Medical Centre, Stonebow Surgery, Huntington Surgery and Pocklington Surgery.

The scheme is set to be rolled out at other practices in York and across the Vale later.

Dr Russell Saxby, of Nimbuscare Ltd, said the development was "fantastic news" for patients and the biggest investment in primary care for some years.

“We know people currently find it difficult to get a face-to-face or telephone appointment at their GP practice, at a time to suit them,” he said.

“This new service will give people a better choice of appointment times and more options to speak to a clinician, or even, eventually, have a virtual consultation on their mobile device or computer.”

He said the service would be rolled out gradually and kept under review. “There is a lot of work to be done now to make sure all our systems are linked, staff are trained and rotas established to be able to offer the service. This is a huge piece of work and we want to make sure it happens as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.”

Nimbuscare senior manager Jayne Bone said: “We will constantly listen to people’s views about the service, so that we can change it to suit their needs.”

CCG director Dr Kevin Smith said it asked the Vale of York community what was important to it and providing extended access to primary care services was identified as one of the main themes.

“Our investment to increase access to primary care services is the start of a very exciting journey that is transforming the delivery of local healthcare,” he added.