INCREASED numbers of patients have been able to access out of hours GP appointments since services moved to the town centre, according to new figures.

Statistics released by the NHS have shown that 76 per cent of patients registered with GPs in Warrington are able to book appointments on weekends and outside normal surgery opening hours on weekdays.

This figure has increased from 60 per cent, recorded in March last year.

The increased availability follows the relocation of GP out of hours services from Warrington Hospital to Bath Street Health and Wellbeing Centre in the town centre back in late 2016.

Meanwhile, the remaining 24 per cent of patients in Warrington are able to receive extended access appointments on one or more such periods.

A total of 21 practices in the town offer appointments out of hours every day of the week, with one or more such extended periods available through the other seven surgeries.

Dr Sangeetha Steevart, GP and clinical lead for primary care at NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A great deal of work has been done across Warrington with primary care colleagues and other providers to redesign the model for the GP out of hours service and extended access for the benefit of patients in Warrington.

“Following on from a substantial consultation in 2016, the GP out of hours service was relocated to Bath Street Health and Wellbeing Centre in Warrington town centre - creating an integrated primary care hub.

“This change has provided patients with easy access to the GP hours of hours service, extended access appointments, late hours pharmacy, emergency dental service and sexual health clinics on one main site.

“Eighteen months on from the relocation of the service into this central and single location, we’re working with local people to evaluate the outcome of this to ensure that the hub continues to meet the needs of local people and to make any improvements where they are needed.”

The figures also revealed that the most popular day for residents to attend out of hours GP appointments was on Tuesdays.

Meanwhile, the least common day for such services in Warrington was on Sundays.

Targets set by the government state that all patients should be able to access out of hours services by October this year.