National Association for Patient Participation

Patients Increasingly Waiting for Appointments

28 July 2017

The results of the GP Patient Survey show that although GPs and their teams are doing a great job in difficult circumstances, patients are increasingly waiting more than a week for appointments.

Analysis from the RCGP revealed that patients waited more than a week for their appointment on 80 million occasions in 2016/17, which will rise more than 20 million to 102 million occasions in 2021/22 if the current trends continue.

The situation across England is patchy, with patients in some areas facing much worse GP access than others. Some of the worst areas to secure a timely GP appointment include Corby, Fareham and Gosport, Swindon and Central London, where currently over three in 10 of patients wait a week or more for an appointment with their family doctor or practice nurse.

Workload in general practice has risen 16% over the last seven years, according to recent research, but the GP workforce has not risen in the last year. In April 2016, NHS England promised there would be an additional 5,000 doctors working in general practice by 2020/21.

However, in spite of this concerning finding, 85% of patients said their overall experience of their GP surgery was good, and 92% have confidence and trust in their GP.

The survey, run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England, received responses from over 800,000 patients in 2017.

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