Health bosses have vowed to spend millions on boosting the number of appointments at health centres in Kirklees.
A £4m pot of cash has been granted to the borough’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to increase access to GPs, nurse practitioners and nurses.
Some GP surgeries will be asked to open later amid a move to increase the number of both routine and urgent appointments.
The latter could reduce pressure on the region’s embattled A&E units as people who cannot see a doctor at short notice often turn up at hospitals in desperation to be seen.
Four years ago 22 Huddersfield GPs agreed to open on Saturdays during the winter to ease A&E waiting times.
But the project was scrapped two years later after a lack of patient interest in weekend access.
Now patients are being asked what they think ahead of decisions on where to spend the £4m funding.
Dr Steve Ollerton, Clinical Leader of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, and a part-time GP, said: “We know that GP services are underfunded when compared to hospital care yet nine out of every 10 patient contacts occur in general practice.
“As a local GP I welcome the steps being taken to redress the gap.
“This investment will benefit patients and support the CCGs’ aim of ensuring more care is delivered closer to home.
“It will also help to make sure that local GP services remain resilient and sustainable over the long term.”
Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, added: “We know from national surveys that some patients in north Kirklees have experienced problems accessing GP appointments.
“The new funding means that more appointments will be available in our area.
“I would encourage all local people to have a say by filling in the CCG survey”.
Thelma Walker, MP for the Colne Valley, said: “I will always welcome more funding for our GPs who are the first point of call for people when they are ill or in need of assistance.
“Many of my constituents have told me they have not been able to get an appointment to see a doctor for several weeks.
“If this funding reduces waiting times, that can only be a good thing.
“I am keen to hear from clinicians to see if this funding is enough to allow them to fulfil the needs of their patients and would encourage them to contact my office on Thelma.Walker.MP@parliament.uk”
Patients’ views are being gathered until November 6 and people are encouraged to have their say by accessing the survey online at: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ExtendedGPAccessKirklees
Alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01924 504938 for a paper copy of the survey.
Feedback will be used by each CCG to help them develop their plans for increasing the number of appointments within their own area to meet the needs of the local population.