Patients face long wait to see a GP, NHS figures reveal

January 29 2019
Patients face long wait to see a GP, NHS figures reveal

ONE in every ten patients in the region is waiting at least three weeks to see a GP, new 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. In two surgeries serving the Frome Valley population, around half of patients have to wait a week or more for an appointment.

Figures from the annual NHS England patient survey in the area show that, among patients of the Frome Valley Medical Centre (pictured above), 18% received a same-day appointment and 13% booked one for the following day. Some 20% had to wait between two days and a week and 46% waited more than a week.

Figures for Yate’s West Walk Surgery, which includes Coalpit Heath Surgery, showed 20% of patients were able to book a same-day appointment, 1% had one on the following day, 16% waited between two days and a week and 58% had to wait more than a week.

At the Kennedy Way Surgery in Yate, 70% were able to book a same-day appointment, 7% had one the next day, 11% had to wait between two days and a week and just 1% waited more than a week.

Other patients answering the survey either 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, quite apart from prolonging the length of time someone has to live with the medical issue that is troubling them.”

Dr Martin Jones, GP and Medical Director of Commissioning and Primary Care at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, 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. By offering more GP and nurse appointments we hope to help keep our patients well and relieve pressure on the wider health system."

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