From Saturday 1 October, people in the Black Country will be able to book an appointment with their GP practice on evenings and weekends.
Appointments will now be available between 6.30pm and 8.00pm Monday to Friday, and between 9.00am and 5.00pm on Saturdays.
There will be a range of appointments available for different services, which will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, to ensure patients see the right person at the right time, more quickly. These will be a combination of face-to-face, video and telephone appointments.
To book an appointment during these hours, people should contact their GP practice by phone or visit their practice website.
Local practices have been working together to ensure these additional appointments are available for all patients. This means that appointments may be at their registered GP surgery or another location.
Sarb Basi, Director of Primary Care for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “Local GPs are seeing as many patients as before the COVID-19 pandemic, but demand for services has increased. Our teams are working extremely hard to improve people’s experience and access to primary care, to ensure everyone gets the care they need.
“We’re pleased that GP practices are now able to offer additional appointments on evenings and weekends, to assist those patients who struggle to access appointments during the day or prefer an evening or weekend appointment to fit in with their personal and family commitments.
“This means that people have greater flexibility for routine, bookable appointments, and can be seen by the most appropriate person at a time that suits them.
"However, this isn’t a walk-in service so if you need urgent medical advice after 6.30pm or at a weekend, please phone NHS 111 in the first instance.”
People are also being reminded to cancel any unwanted GP appointments.
Sarb Basi added: “We understand that sometimes you can’t make the appointments you have booked, but at a time when the whole NHS system is under pressure it is even more important to let us know if you can’t attend.
"If you know you can’t make an appointment, or you no longer need it, please let your GP practice know as soon as possible so that we can offer it to someone else.”