DELAYS to see a GP have hit “crisis levels” with patients facing record waits of more than two weeks, research reveals.
It shows sick Brits are “struggling to even get their foot in the door” to see a family doctor.
Delays to see GPs have hit record levels as patients are faced with waits of two weeks-plus on average[/caption]
A survey by GP magazine Pulse found average waiting times for non-urgent appointments of 14.8 days — the first time they have exceeded a fortnight.
Delays are up from 13.9 days last year and 12.8 days in 2017 — a 16 per cent rise in two years.
Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “Difficulties in accessing primary (GP) care are undoubtedly now at crisis levels for some patients.
“Not being able to get a GP appointment often means not getting healthcare at all, or having to fall back on already-stretched A&E services.
“With patients struggling to even get their foot in the door to see a GP, the NHS’s transformation programme will have to take general practice on a considerable journey to get it where it should be.”
PM Boris Johnson promised to end “three week waits”. But the latest research, based on a poll of 901 GPs, showed 22 per cent of practices forced patients to wait longer than this for a routine appointment.
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THE SUN SAYS
DAMNING new statistics reveal the average wait for a non-urgent GP appointment is now more than two weeks. This is simply not good enough.
Boris Johnson promised in his first speech as Prime Minister that it was his job to make sure we don’t have to wait for weeks on end to see our doctor. The latest figures highlight the enormity of that task.
There is a limit to what can be achieved by under-pressure health service staff and, though the PM has moved quickly to free up extra funding, there will never be an endless supply of money for the NHS, no matter who is in No10.
What is needed is serious reform and some radical thinking. Jeremy Corbyn will doubtless oppose any new ideas and continue using the NHS as a political football.
But if the Prime Minister can prove as single-minded on the health service as he is proving on Brexit, there is still hope.
And six per centsaid their lists were longer than four weeks. The figures do not include urgent same-day appointments.
Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said unless the NHS hires more family docs, patients will increasingly be put at risk. She said: “They should be able to see a GP when they need to.”
The Department of Health said ministers are determined to reduce GP waiting times, adding: “this survey represents a small fraction of GPs”.
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