More patients waiting longer than a week for GP appointments

Growing numbers of patient are waiting a week or more to see their GP or are unable to get an appointment at all, according to a major annual report.

A survey of more than 800,000 patients in England reveals that the proportion of patients waiting longer than seven days to see a doctor has risen 56% in five years – with 20% waiting this period compared to 12.8% in 2012.

The number unable to get an appointment has also risen to 11.3%, an increase of 27% since 2012. Of those who were not able to get an appointment or found the appointment offered was not convenient, 14.6% did not see or speak to anyone as a result.

Rising numbers are also struggling to even get through to surgeries over the phone, according to findings of the annual GP survey in 2017. The poll, published by NHS England with Ipsos Mori, also found fewer patients are seeing their preferred GP.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said it was “very concerning” that more people had to wait longer for appointments, putting it down to a “decade of under-investment”.

“It is particularly worrying that some patients are deciding not to seek medical advice at all if they are not able to get an appointment initially,” she said.

Article from The Guardian, 6 July 2017