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07 July 2017

One in nine NHS patients fail to get an appointment to see a GP

SOARING numbers of NHS patients are unable to see a GP.

A record one in nine failed to get a doctor’s appointment and had to try an alternative, NHS data reveals.

The figure suggests docs turned away patients 47million times this year
Getty Images

The figure suggests docs turned away patients 47million times this year[/caption]

One in five patients have to wait a week before they are able to get an available appointment
Getty Images

One in five patients have to wait a week before they are able to get an available appointment[/caption]

The figure is up more than a quarter in five years and suggests GPs turned away patients 47million times this year.

And a record one in five — a rise of more than half since 2012 — wait at least a week for an appointment.

Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said: “It is a quite frightening state of affairs.”

The figures come from the GP Patient Survey, involving 800,000 adults in England.

Even getting through on the phone to the surgery is proving increasingly difficult, it shows.

Nearly three in ten patients said it was “not easy” to speak to their GP practice, up by half from five years ago.


The struggle for an appointment means many people are treating themselves or leaving ailments to get worse.

Others clog up hard-pressed A&E departments or turn to pharmacists in desperation.

Satisfaction with GP services remains high but experts say there needs to be a recruitment drive for more doctors
Getty Images

Satisfaction with GP services remains high but experts say there needs to be a recruitment drive for more doctors[/caption]

Ms Robins said: “Patients need prompt treatment, otherwise they could get worse.

“We simply need more GPs.

“You used to be able to phone up and get an appointment on the day, now that is just a distant dream for many.”

GPs’ leaders said the figures were concerning and more investment was needed.

Dr Richard Vautrey, from the BMA, said: “GPs are not happy they are unable to offer the service they want to offer.”

However, satisfaction with GPs remains high, with 85 per cent of people in the survey rating their experience as good.

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