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Friday 21 October 2016
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Nearly all practices extend opening hours in Wales

Almost all practices in Wales (97%) offer late appointments between 5pm and 6.30pm, the Welsh government revealed this week

Nearly all practices in Wales (97%) offer late appointments between 5pm and 6.30pm, in light of a government drive to improve GP access.

The Welsh government revealed that practices across Wales are opening for longer after a £40m investment in 2015-16 to develop primary care services.

The research also found that 79% of practices offered appointments at any time between 5pm and 6.30pm every day, up from 63% in 2011.

Moreover, the percentage of practices closed for a half day on one week day has fallen from 19% in 2011 to 4% in 2015.

In response, health and social services minister Mark Drakeford said: “GP surgeries across Wales are working hard to extend opening hours beyond 5pm and to avoid closing for half a day a week. “

Currently, 82% of GP practices are open for daily core hours (8am to 6.30pm Mondays to Fridays) or within one hour of the daily core hours, increasing from 60% in 2011.

Drakeford continued: “It is important access continues to improve so people have the right care and advice from the right person, at the right time. The right person may be a pharmacist, a physiotherapist, a nurse, a social worker or a local voluntary organisation. We want GPs to be able to focus their time and expertise on people with more complex care needs.”