PATIENTS living in and around York will soon be able to get appointments with a GP or other healthcare professional at weekends, bank holidays and evenings, following a major investment.

The new scheme launches in October this year and will result in sweeping improvements to out-of-hours appointments.

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) awarded Nimbuscare Ltd, a group of local GP practices, a contract to deliver extended access to primary care services in central York, in what has been described as the “biggest investment in primary care for some years”.

Dr Kevin Smith, the CCG’s executive director of Primary Care and Population Health said: “I am delighted to announce that patients in areas of central York and Pocklington will be able to access primary care services in the evenings, at weekends and on bank holidays from early autumn 2018.”

He added: “We asked the Vale of York community to tell us what is important to them about local healthcare services and providing extended access to primary care services was identified as one of the main themes.

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

Dr Russell Saxby, of Nimbuscare Ltd and My Health Practice in York said: “This is fantastic news for patients. It is the biggest investment in primary care for some years and we are delighted and proud to be at the forefront of this new service in York.

“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.

“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.”

Under the new contract, appointments will be available between 6.30pm and 8pm each weekday, with additional slots available at weekends and bank holidays. The appointments will be pre-bookable, by telephoning local surgeries or by contacting NHS 111.

The new service, which will cover the York Central area, including Pocklington, will be based at three “hub sites” in York; Cornlands Road Medical Centre, Stonebow Surgery and Huntington Surgery and Pocklington Surgery.