Sheila Parker sees a GP more easily

“I know it’s wrong, but sometimes it’s easier for me to go to A&E in the evening and wait a few hours to get seen by a doctor than wait for a week to see the GP,” she says. “One of my neighbours told me about her GP being open at night and on Saturday and Sunday and I thought ‘lucky you’. But then I read that anyone registered with a local GP can get an appointment there… and not only that - you can ring them yourself and book up. So I did just that.

“I went to Fulwell Cross at 8.30pm in the evening - it was quite empty, no big queues and I was seen within five minutes. The GP had my records to look at and asked me for permission to use them and then updated them and said they’d be back with my own GP by 9am in the morning. It’s marvellous.

“I will try not to use them all the time as I understand that it’s not really just for the usual aches and pains – but I’ve told my friends and neighbours and it can only help with long waits in other places can’t it? We need more of this.”

Urgent GP appointments are being offered right now across Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge from a series of practices.

Patients can call the service directly on 020 3770 1888 between 2pm and 9pm on weekdays and 9am and 5pm on weekends for an appointment. Alternatively they can be booked in through your own GP or via NHS 111. All appointments must be booked in advance; you can’t walk in or turn up on the day without an appointment.