Deadline Looming for Extended Access in the UK

Extended access is designed to give patients better access to see a GP outside of core hours - tackling the age old problem of traditional GP services only being available during the working day.

CCGs across the country were given a deadline to offer extended access services to patients by March 2019, but this has been brought forward October 2018 after initial targets were exceeded this year.

NHS England has revealed that 52% of the UK now benefits from extended access services, beating the 40% target for 2017/2018.

The NHS is actively encouraging every GP practice to be part of a local primary care network (GP Federation/Alliance, super practice, etc.) serving populations between 30,000 and 50,000 by March 2019. Practices joining these networks allows them to pool resource – finances, staff and expertise –with a view to providing a local, convenient and cost-effective extended access service.

GP Recruitment

One of the key deliverables from NHS England is for GP services to employ an extra 5,000 doctors by 2020. There are also plans to recruit an additional 500 doctors from overseas to work in general practice to relieve the current pressures on primary care services.

Staffing an Extended Access Service

The majority of staff working in extended access services tend to work for one of the member practices of the GP Federation/Network providing the service, or are locum/sessional staff working for the service on an ad-hoc basis.

For both groups, it’s vital that services have systems in place to gather staff availability well ahead of time, given the lack of consistency is staff working patterns.

Extended access services tend to run across a variety of hubs in the a local area, with different hubs opening each day to ensure a spread of service availability for patients across any given week. 

RotaMaster is specifically designed to help extended access providers manage their flexible workforce across various locations – all from one central system – and is the system of choice for over 50% of GP federations in the UK.  Staff can log their own availability, and the system will automatically allocate shifts fairly for both clinical and non-clinical staff. All staff costs are tracked against a budget, and the system produces invoice/payroll information – removing the need for manual timesheet/invoice processes. 

If you would like to discuss RotaMaster can help with your extended access staffing requirements, please call us on 01924 252360 or email