The Improving Health Limited (IHL) Extended Access Centre has been running for over 2 years and was set up as part of the Prime Minister's Challenge Fund, a challenge to GP Practices across the country, to open up more access and appointments to patients, notably for us here in Southwark (specifically 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week). Southwark CCG took this up as one of the first CCGs in the UK to do so and worked with all the Southwark Practices to form 2 distinctive GP Federations, QHS in the North and IHL in the South. Soon after forming the federation, the EPCS (Extended Primary Care Service) was commissioned and it has evolved now into a multi faceted organisation capable of seeing large numbers of patients on the day Mon - Fri and others as directed by GP Practices at the weekend. The organisation is led by a senior General Manager supported by GP and senior Healthcare Directors from South Southwark practices, but the main core of work is delivered by Southwark GPs and Nurses.
The Government backed this up with £2M of funding in the first year and it is funded each year by the CCG to maintain its running costs etc.
This facility, located in the Lister Health Centre in Peckham, offers all 23 GP practices a number of GP and Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) appointments when there are none available at that time at the host practice (us here at Camberwell).
When the GP, ANP or staff member here at Camberwell Green discusses your illness or care issue he/she will sometimes offer you an appointment at this Extended Access Centre as this will be the quickest or earliest chance for you to see a GP/ANP for your issue - it is very strongly advised that you take up this offer of the appointment at IHL as it will mean you will be seen and hopefully sorted out to your health care needs v quickly.
IHL also has a number of slots where they will ring you back to discuss your matters (similarly like our GPs do here) and again if deemed appropriate they will offer you an appointment direct and ask you to come and see them that day/early the next day.
This is a very valuable and worthy Primary Care GP service which all practices in South Southwark are working with to ensure we all can offer as much patient access as possible.
For info, the IHL Extended Access Centre is open 8 - 8, 7 days a week but it is NOT a walk in centre - our patients who need GP services out of hours are able to ring SELDOC after 630pm each day and all weekend via our telephone number, and SELDOC will arrange to assist you accordingly.