THOUSANDS of patients will be able to see their GP at more convenient times.

Surgeries in Brighton and Hove are working together to provide extended hours which include opening at weekends and on bank holidays.

GP and nurse appointments will be available from 8am to 8pm.

Patients can access the service by calling their own practice to book an appointment.

This year, for the first time, urgent appointments will be available at some practices in the city from Friday to January 7, excluding Christmas Day.

Increasing access to GP services is one of the highest priorities for the NHS in Brighton and Hove.

The extended appointments will also help ease pressures on urgent and emergency care services in the city.

This includes the accident and emergency department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton which continues to experience extreme demand over the winter months.

Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group chairman David Supple said: “Our aim is to make GP services more accessible, especially for parents, carers and people of working age.

“We know it’s not always easy to find time to squeeze in an appointment with your GP to fit in with a busy work and family life.

“By offering appointments at extended can make it easier for local people to see a GP at a time that suits them.”

GP surgeries in the city have come under increased pressure in the past two years with the closure of eight practices.

This has led to thousands of patients having to transfer to other practices.

Among the closures were the Ridgeway Surgery in Woodingdean in October and Lewes Road surgery in Brighton in January.

In 2015 Eaton Place practice in Kemp Town shut and the Care Quality Commission closed Goodwood Court in Hove after raising safety concerns.

The privately run group The Practice pulled out of its contract to run four GP practices in the city, which have now closed.