REGIONAL AM Suzy Davies has said she is disappointed to discover that there are no GP practices in the Bridgend area that offer appointments to patients at weekends.

Mrs Davies submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ABMu health board to ask how many practices offer these appointments and the answer was none.

Mrs Davies, who is a Welsh Conservative. said: “This is very disappointing. The Welsh Labour Government had said that it was going to improve access to family doctors for those patients who are at work and are unable to attend in normal surgery hours. This is all part of creating a health service that works 24/7.

“Obviously, emergency treatment is available at all times but patients have to see their doctor for many other reasons and providing some Saturday appointments would ease the pressure on those slots that are available during the week.

“I was also disappointed to discover that the 69 GP practices in Bridgend, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot only provide access up until 6.30pm which they are contractually liable to do. But there had been talk of providing some later appointments for people in work.”

In their response to Mrs Davies, ABMu said that a review of access is currently underway which would look at appointments being made available after 5.30pm.

She added: “I welcome this development and also support the new framework agreed by ABMu called ”Telephone First” in which patients can speak to a GP by phone. This sets out standards to be followed to ensure consistency between practices and to ensure that the right advice is given to patients.”