11th July 2017

More Patients Waiting Longer Than A Week For GP Appointments

More Patients Waiting Longer Than A Week For GP Appointments

The latest findings from NHS England’s GP Patient Survey shows that General Practitioners are increasingly unable to meet their patients’ needs in terms of arranging appointments and continuity of care.

Between January and March 2017, Ipsos MORI carried out the GP Patient Survey and found that 28 per cent of patients stated contacting their surgery by phone not very easy or not at all easy. The survey also found that the number of patients able to get an appointment or speak to someone at their surgery dropped from 75 per cent to 72 per cent.

The survey of more than 800,000 patients in England found worsening access to family doctors across a range of measures. The survey reveals that the proportion of patients waiting longer than seven days to see a doctor has risen 56 per cent in five years, with 20 per cent waiting this period compared to 12.8 per cent in 2012.

The chair of Royal College of GPs (RCGP), Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that the patients should be able to see a GP when they need to, so it’s very concerning that more people are having to wait for longer to get appointments with their GP or practice nurse.

She further added that GPs are working flat out to provide care for as many patients as they possibly can, but there are limits beyond which they can no longer guarantee safe care.

British Medical Association GP committee acting chairman, Dr Richard Vautrey said that the National Health Service was at “breaking point” and in need of a rescue plan to bring in extra GPs. The latest survey results were a sad indictment of the impacts of long-term under resourcing of GP in England.

It is unfair on patients that their growing needs are not being acknowledged by the government which is failing to address rising staff shortages and is providing insufficient funding, leaving too many patients waiting longer for the care they need, he added.

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