DOCTORS hope to see a weekend surgery trial continue permanently.

A total of 18 doctors surgeries are opening up at weekends in a bid to take the pressure off struggling services.

The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group was given £100,000 to trial the new weekend service through March.

Most of the surgeries to sign up are Colchester based, but Caradoc Surgery in Frinton, St James Surgery in Clacton and Thorpe-le-Soken Surgery are also part of the trial.

Surgeries say the weekend trials have proved to be a big hit so far.

Thorpe practice manager Stephanie Durrant said: “So far they are going very well and have proved popular with the patients and the surgery.

“We always thought it would be a good idea and by signing up for the trial we were reacting to what our patient participation group wanted to see happen.

“Now for us the objective would be to see this become a permanent step."