I was delighted to see not one but two initiatives designed to improve access to GP services going into action in areas of Surrey Heartlands this month. People will now have extended access to additional appointments during the evenings and at weekends at a number of locations across Surrey Heartlands.

Public satisfaction with general practice remains high but in recent years patients have increasingly reported, through the GP Patient Survey, more difficulty in accessing services including a decline in good overall experience of making an appointment in general practice.

These additional appointments stand alongside effective access to out of hours and urgent care services and so should help in reducing the pressure on local A&E departments.

Another of our priorities for this year is a focus on what we are calling ‘Generational Change’. In particular there’s an emphasis on The First Thousand Days – from conception to a child’s third birthday.

This month we are able to report exceptional progress with our Better Births initiative taking the first steps toward setting up a series of new maternity community hubs across Surrey Heartlands. The Surrey Heartlands Maternity Together transformation team has been working with Woking Borough Council in a marvellous story of collaboration with plans to involve clinicians, service users and other health and community professionals.

Eventually, most maternity and post-natal care will be provided from the hubs rather than GP surgeries or hospital.

With very best wishes,

Dr Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer for Surrey Heartlands