One in ten waits three weeks to see GP

December 21 2018

ONE in every ten patients in the region is waiting at least three weeks to see their GP, figures reveal.

As the NHS faces its busiest time of the year, 56,250 people in the area covered by the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group had to wait at least 21 days to see a doctor after booking an appointment.

And 24,700 people waited more than a month for an appointment booked in October, the latest NHS Digital data shows. The waiting times are similar to those in November 2017, when the figures first started to be collected.

Two in five patients in the local CCG’s area were able to see a GP the same day the appointment was made.

Figures from the annual NHS England patient survey show that, in the Downend area, many patients wait more than a week for an appointment.

Among patients of the Willow Surgery who answered the survey, 24 per cent received a same-day appointment, 10 per cent booked one for the following day while 52 per cent had to wait more than a week.

At Christchurch Family Medical Centre, 46 per cent of patients said they were able to book a same-day appointment, seven per cent had one on the following day and 16 per cent had to wait more than a week.

At Leap Valley Medical Centre, 16 per cent were able to book a same-day appointment, six per cent had one the next day and 55 per cent had to wait more than a week.

At Emersons Green Medical Centre, 21 per cent of patients received a same-day appointment, 9 per cent had one the next day and 55 per cent waited more than a week.

Other patients answering the survey either waited between two days and a week or could not remember how long they waited.

The figures include patients who need regular appointments and are likely to be booking ahead.

Patients Association chief executive Rachel Power said: “It can be incredibly stressful to face a long wait before getting to see a doctor. All of this is a symptom of an NHS running at boiling point all year round.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “GPs are working hard to provide high-quality care to their patients, with over a million appointments booked every weekday in October and 40 per cent  of patients being seen on the same day. We are also rolling out extended access hours across the country.”

Dr Martin Jones,  of the CCG,  said: “Local GPs are working hard to provide the best quality care to their patients, with more than 500,000 appointments in October and around 40% of people seen by practice staff on the same day. 

“However, we understand that some people struggle to get appointments quickly and we are working with local GPs to improve access to appointments.

“Every practice in the area now offers appointments at the evenings or weekends, making it easier for people to see a doctor, nurse or other health professional at a time convenient to them.”

“NHS Pharmacists are also available to offer advice on treating common winter ailments like coughs and colds and  they can usually see you on the same day.”