latest health care news


Quarter of patients have to wait a week or longer to see GP, major survey shows

Almost a quarter of patients have to wait a week or longer to see their family doctor, figures have revealed— with health bosses saying the NHS is “running at boiling point all year round.”

Latest figures from NHS England’s annual patient survey— which casts the opinion of 760,000 patients using the health service around the country— found that about one in four of those who initially aimed to book an appointment to see their GP that day did not see their doctor until a week or more later.

The waiting time for doctors has skyrocketed in recent times; in the last six years those waiting over a week to see a GP has almost doubled, from 12.8% to 23.8%

The survey findings highlight health bosses’ concerns with primary care around the country: yesterday the chair of the Royal College of GPs called for an urgent overhaul of the GP Forward View plan, with a £2.5bn cash boost seen as necessary to ensure the future of continuity of care. Mounting pressures on primary care has also pushed many professionals away from the industry— a recent DHSC survey identified that two in five doctors could leave the profession within five years.

Chief executive of NHS Providers Chris Hopson said the summer has provided “no respite” for NHS staff who are now working flat out to meet unsustainable levels of demand all year-round.

“The pressures are felt across hospital, community, mental health and ambulance services, not just A&E,” he added. “We need urgent decisions about how we properly invest and put in place the necessary staff, beds and resources we need to deliver what is required of the NHS throughout the year. Time is running out to put plans in place for sufficient capacity ahead of this winter.”

Despite the negative statistics of some GP waiting times, many of the patient responses were positive: a massive 95.6% of those surveyed had confidence and trust in their GP, whilst 93.5% of patients felt involved in decisions about their care and treatment.

And, in spite of growing demand on doctors across the UK, over four in five (83.8%) of patients described their overall experience of their GP practice as good.

Chair of the RCGP Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the statistics are a “testament to the great efforts” to patient care shown by GP teams across the country. She noted, however, that longer waiting times for an appointment with doctors can mean patients may not receive the treatment they need in the early stages of their condition.

“The plain truth is that existing GPs and our teams are working to absolute capacity and we just don't have enough GPs to offer enough appointments,” she argued.

“Health secretary Matt Hancock has identified workforce and prevention as two of his top priorities— if he is serious about tackling the GP workforce crisis, and keeping patients out of hospital where care is far costlier, it is essential that the government invests properly in general practice.”

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: ijeab


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on env... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospital... more >


How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

System working in an uncertain world

09/05/2019System working in an uncertain world

What, exactly, is an integrated care system? Well, it’s unclear, writes Kacey Cogle, policy advisor at NHS Providers. On the NHS England website, integrated care sy... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >