Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Public struggling to book GP appointments

  • 7 Comments

Hundreds of thousands of people cannot book GP appointments because none are available, or struggle to get through to their surgery on the phone, according to a new survey.

A poll of 1.93 million people found 21% said it was not easy to get through on the phone to their GP surgery.

Some 265,844 thought it was not very easy, while a further 132,618 said it was “not at all” easy.

Some 38% (732,888) said it was fairly easy and while 31% (596,669) thought it was very easy.

Asked how simple it was to speak to a doctor on the phone, 19% thought it was not at all or not very easy, 25% thought it was very or fairly easy, 44% had not tried and another 12% did not know.

The poll covers GP practices in England and was carried out between January and December 2010 for the Department of Health.

Of the 1.1 million people who had tried to see a doctor fairly quickly in the previous six months, 79% had been able to do so.

But one in five (20% or 221,608) could not, with 83% of those (184,495) saying a reason was there were no appointments available.

Another 15% (32,704) said it was because the times offered did not suit them, while 5% said they could have seen a nurse but wanted to see a doctor (10,329).

Of more than 900,000 people who had tried to book ahead for an appointment, 71% were able to do so but 26% were not.

Of the 1.8 million who were asked about the ease of getting test results on the phone, 35% said it was very or fairly easy, 12% thought it was not very or at all easy, 39% had not tried and 13% did not know.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Patients rightly have a strong sense of confidence and trust in their GPs, but GPs have not previously had the freedom to respond to patient needs appropriately.

“Instead of government telling GPs what patients want, our modernisation plans will free GPs to make services more responsive to patients.

“GPs will be empowered to ensure patients get the care they need, when they need it, including out of hours care.

“We will also introduce the new, free-to-call, NHS 111 service which will provide easy access to urgent care services, including access to out of hours services.”

Have you signed our petition to ensure nurses have a seat on consortia boards? Follow @Aseatontheboard on twitter follow for all the latest campaign news!

 

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • “Instead of government telling GPs what patients want, our modernisation plans will free GPs to make services more responsive to patients.

    “GPs will be empowered to ensure patients get the care they need, when they need it, including out of hours care.

    “We will also introduce the new, free-to-call, NHS 111 service which will provide easy access to urgent care services, including access to out of hours services.”

    Let's hope that this is so and is implemented asap

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I had such a wonderful email relationship with my mothers GP, but with my own it's a complete 'no-no'.

    I am expected to have a GP surgery waiting room BP reading result assessed by the receptionist... I don't think so!

    The whole NHS systen is looking for cheaper, but not more efficient, services. Every week, if not daily, there are changes to the NHS, and such quick fixes, not long term planning.

    NHS - the future - ????? if any?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Kadiyali Srivatsa

    I noticed 60%-80% of patients consulting GP in primary care are with common illness that could be managed using self medication, so why ask doctors?

    Using my tools called "MAYA" (Medical Advise You Access), you can avoid visit and also reduce the risk of spreading cross infections in the community.

    www.call111.com

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • patients often need reassurance and this is best done by face to face encounter
    cf the elderly living on their own
    doctors often provide more helpful and intelligent answers than do-gooders

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Kadiyali Srivatsa | 19-Mar-2011 10:16 am

    are gps shirking their duties? service needs to meet demands and not the other way round.
    it is like those who say that a large proportion of patients who consult a and e are wasting the time of the service but if they have concerns and no other service to go to what are the supposed to do? it is the fault of the system and not of the patients who are made to feel that they are wasting time. this also prevents many who should see a doctor from not doing so or when they should have done sooner for fear of being labelled. it also results in serious cases being sent home without adequate examination or treatment - a colleague of mine died on our ward shortly after her admission having been sent home from a and e less than 24 hours earlier (and there are other similar cases reported in the media), leaving behind a new baby and a toddler and a heartbroken family and speechless colleagues.

    if in doubt it is better to consult a doctor too often than too little, and most good doctors and nurses will uphold this. something quite minor may be extremely serious and life-threatening and vice versa but it is always better to be safe than sorry and patients are not always in a position to make this judgement without professional advice, support and investigation.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • No wonder! Pt's are greated with often a rude receptionist who dosn't understand thier needs as clients.

    In personal experience I will NOT visit my GP as I am sick, tired and fed up with being told I must be triaged by a un-trained individual who has no more experience than a first aid certificate!


    GP practices who offer extended clinic hours open up thier accessability for its users, those who dont and put unessesary policies and procedures in place prevent thier users from accessing them!

    It should be made compulsary that a number of appointments (more than presently) are made available for patients to make in advance and receptionists STOP doing clinical related duties!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I had two great GPs whom I was registered with since I was 16 years old never had a problem with appointment etc. However in my 40s they retired GPs and receptionist changed. Now it is almost impossible to get an appointment to see my GP it seems if I was not working and spent all day at home then possibly I could sit on the phone hoping someone answers then when someone answers be told phone back at 1400hrs as that is when appointments will be open. No wonder people present to A+E departments.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.