Christmas access to GPs is being enhanced this year across Surrey Heartlands with local implementation of an NHS England initiative to ensure urgent GP appointments are available from 22 December 2017 to 7 January 2018 (excluding Christmas Day).

For example, In North West Surrey there will be three Extended Access clinics which will allow patients to access GP appointments at a local practice. But wherever you live in Surrey Heartlands urgent GP appointments will be available to book during the holidays via your normal GP practice.

You can find out about holiday opening times for pharmacies by following the link on the home page of the Surrey Heartlands website at

Overall, Surrey Heartlands is taking a system approach to managing winter, with an additional £2 million investment which has been possible via our transformation funding.  This investment includes:

GPs in A&E departments across Surrey Heartlands.  Delivered in time to help meet winter pressures and designed to run to March 2018, this pilot programme puts a GP and an Emergency Nurse Practitioner into all three Surrey Heartlands hospitals to support their A&E departments. This development expected to deliver measureable benefits including:

  • Reduction in A&E attendances managed by A&Es
  • Reduction in the number of avoidable admissions
  • Reduction in onward investigations
  • Reduction in lengths of stay (by avoiding the hospital admission)
  • Reduced waiting times in A&Es
  • Improved patient satisfaction

Expanding our winter awareness campaign.  Stay Well This Winter is the campaign to help people prepare for winter weather launched by NHS England and Public Health England. The campaign encourages people most at risk from cold weather, including those with long-term health conditions and the over 65s, to prepare for the lower temperatures.

Each of our partner organisations has their own winter campaign plan and we are supporting delivery through all our communications channels – particularly social media.  In addition, we have invested in a radio campaign on Eagle Radio which will also be supported by targeted social media advertising.

Flu vaccination campaign.  The Flu Vaccination campaign already offers the vaccination free to NHS staff to protect patients and the public. This winter, in recognition of how important this is, free jabs have also been offered to social care workers who provide direct patient care.  We continue to raise awareness across our organisations about the importance of vaccinations for frontline staff.

We are also continuing to raise awareness of free flu vaccinations to the over 65s and other vulnerable groups, at both local pharmacies and via GPs.  Some community pharmacies now offer flu vaccination to adults at risk of flu including pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, people with long-term health conditions and carers (but not children).

The CCGs are also sending reminders to GP practices encouraging them to review coverage data and make use of their text messaging systems to target eligible patients.