GPs under Pressure as Extended Access Deadline Approaches

The deadline for GPs to provide seven-day access to patients is fast approaching.

Yet data shows this is far from becoming a reality with millions of people across the UK still lacking extended access to GPs outside of working hours.

The BBC shared data showing 10 percent of registered patients live in areas where there is no access to GPs at evenings and weekends.

It comes after NHS England and NHS Improvement bought forward the deadline to 1st October for all patients to have access to extended hours. From this date, all Clinical Commissioning Groups will need to have arrangements in place to facilitate extended access to GPs.

Creating rotas is an Achilles heel for many managers. With a critical shortage of GPs and an ever-growing list of patients, it is no wonder that filling the gaps in service feels anything but smooth sailing. It’s a tricky balancing act but the good news is that it can be made more manageable with the help of RotaMaster’s allocation tools. RotaMaster works with 54 GP federations nationwide, all of which are now offering extended access for their patients, so we understand the needs of this ever-evolving sector and have worked closely to ensure these federations utilise the RotaMaster software to match the correct GP skills and availability for the patient requirements.

We take a look at extended access and how to make the transition to additional hours more harmonious.

What is Extended Access?

Extended access means that registered patients are able to book in to see a doctor, seven-days a week between 8am and 8pm.

Originally the deadline was for March 2019 however, these plans have been brought forward and from October all Clinical Commissioning Groups need to ensure patients have extended access to their GP.

According to data, more than 22 million people – 40 percent of patients registered with GPs – have ‘seven day 8am-8pm’ access to GPs. While just over half of the population has access to partial provisions.

Make a Plan

When faced with increasing hours and services for your patients, there is going to initially be a shortfall in staff.

Tackle this head-on by discussing with your team how to manage the extra workload, ask who can cover additional shifts and look at where you can get more resources. By collating this information within RotaMaster, covering the required shifts is made easy with the click of a button, allowing you to concentrate on offering the best service possible to your patients.

Pooling of Staff

The biggest headache for many GP practices and federations is the pooling of extra staff.

Rota software ensures that you have the correct number of staff working at the right time. Managers can see where there are gaps in service, see who is available to work and manage staff across a number of different sites.

Instead of relying on staff checking the printout-rotas or reading their emails, RotaMaster software can send out alerts to staff to let them know about their shift and any last-minute changes easing communication inhouse.

Budgeting and Payments

Manual calculation of payments and invoices takes up time for many admin staff and leaves the door open for discrepancies too.

RotaMaster customer Greenbrook Healthcare save at least 35 hours a month in finance admin alone by using our software.

Our finance module tracks all staff pay, creates invoices and staff are able to verify their hours at the click of a button.

Whether you use Sage, IRIS or Xero, we are able to integrate with any payroll system which removes the need for duplication or additional work.

Keep an eye on monthly and annual budgets, RotaMaster live alerts can also inform you when these are about to be exceeded.

Next Steps

There is no quick fix when it comes to moving towards extended access.  By setting out a plan, moving forward as a team and implementing the right processes alongside the right system goes a long way in creating a flexible working structure that grows with your practice.

If you would like to know how RotaMaster can support your extended access requirements, call us on 01924 252360 or email