Tulasi medical centre in Dagenham becomes ‘one of first in UK’ to open seven days a week
- Credit: Archant
Staff at a doctor’s surgery in Dagenham believe they have some of the longest opening hours in England after extending the times that patients can attend their clinics.
The changes come a week after Margaret Hodge MP supported an initiative to make it easier for residents in Barking and Dagenham to see their doctor.
Since February 1, patients at Tulasi medical centre on Bennetts Castle Lane have been able to visit their GP from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Prior to that, the surgery had been opening between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am until 3pm on Saturday,
The amended opening hours willo give patients more choice and flexibility, according to Dr Ravali Goriparthi, and were a result of increased demand and pressure at the practice.
Mrs Hodge said one in four people agreed they found it difficult to get an appointment with their GP, and half could never get an appointment within a week.
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Dr Goriparthi, 42, who has been at the surgery for seven years, said the increase in demand for doctors related to the borough’s aging population, and diseases being identified earlier.
He added: “We’re hoping the change in hours will take the pressure off the week, so we’ve hired another doctor and more reception staff to help deal with the increased workload. All the doctors and receptionists are working very hard to provide the extra service.
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“We haven’t received any funding so the changes will put some strain on the surgery, but it will be worth it as we’ll be able to offer our patients a unique and dramatically different experience.”
A spokesperson for Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group said: “For the six months from August last year, 25,000 extra urgent GP appointments have been made available.
“We are in the process of making the case for extra funding for the borough to improve access to GPs still further.”
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