Almost 20 doctors practices will have weekend surgeries in a bid to take the pressure off A&E.

The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has released the latest list of doctors’ practices which are taking part in the trial which runs until the end of March.

So far 18 out of the 43 practices in the area have confirmed they are taking part.

The clinical commissioning group has up to £100,000 from the national Winter Pressures budget to pay towards the scheme.

A spokesman said: “The advice to patients is to please contact your surgery, if its one of those on the list, to ask to book an appointment at the weekend.”

Dr Shane Gordon, chief officer of the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP at the Bluebell Surgery, in Colchester, said: “We hope to test the idea that having some GPs working will help relieve some of the pressure on A&E.

“I would very much encourage all GPs to consider what they can offer.

“We have enough money to fund all surgeries to do this until March, so if fewer practices are involved we could extend the pilot beyond March.”

He stressed that all appointments must be pre-booked and there is not a walk-in service.

The opening hours will also vary by surgery.

List of surgeries taking part:

Mayflower Surgery, Main Road, Dovercourt Layer Road Surgery, Layer Road, Colchester Castle Gardens Medical Centre, East Hill, Colchester Parsons Heath Medical Practice, Parsons Heath, Colchester Creffield Medical Centre, Cavalry Road, Colchester Portland Medical Centre, Ypres Road, Colchester Mill Road Surgery, Mill Road, Colchester Stanway Surgery, Winstree Road, Stanway Tiptree Medical Centre, Church Road, Colchester East Lynne Medical Centre, Turner Road, Colchester Wivenhoe Surgery, The Avenue, Wivenhoe.

Caradoc Surgery, Station Approach, Frinton St James Surgery, Wash Lane, Clacton-on-Sea Great Bentley Surgery, The Green Abbeyfield Medical Centre, Ypres Road, Colchester.

Ambrose Avenue Group Practice, Colchester North Hill Medical Group, Colchester Thorpe-le-Soken Surgery, High Street.