DOCTORS in the town have welcomed a £3m cash injection to improve access to care for 209,000 patients in Warrington.

As part of the £50m ‘Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund’, the town will receive £3,291,157 for the ‘Primary care home Warrington’ scheme which will give patients extended access from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

A total of 29 practices will be part of the initiative which will see the creation of eight new virtual ‘Primary care homes’, each covering three to six surgeries in the area.

Each home will provide an ‘integrated service hub’ sharing services across practices including heart monitoring, blood testing and have dedicated care co-ordinators for patients with complex needs.

Bid leader Dr Andy Davies, from Greenbank Surgery, said: “It’s a really exciting opportunity for us to change how primary care is delivered for the benefit of our patients.

“We have got a dwindling workforce with more work to do.

“We need to change and the Prime Minister’s challenge fund enables us to do that to create a more sustainable model that is more about proactively managing health than reacting to sickness.”

Seven pilot schemes have been approved in the north of England with awarded sums ranging from £400,000 to £5m across the country.

Alison Tonge, commissioning director for NHS England Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral, said: “We would like to congratulate GPs in Warrington for an innovative scheme that will make such a difference to the lives of the patients they serve.

“Improving access to GPs is imperative to prevent health problems storing up and to avoid pressure on our hospitals.

“I look forward to seeing the results of this exciting scheme and how it transforms healthcare in Warrington.”