Side-view of a GP in an office

NHS has delivered 50 million more GP appointments compared to pre-pandemic levels, govt announces

GPs have delivered 50 million more appointments in the last year compared to before the pandemic, new data from NHS England has revealed.

For the year up to October 2023, 358 million general practice appointments were delivered, which is 50.9 million more than October 2019.

The increase is equal to 44 extra appointments for every practice, every working day, with more than 70% of those taking place within two weeks of booking.

The statistics show the government has met one of its key commitments from 2019, which adds to earlier data that demonstrated there were over 34,000 more direct patient care staff working across general practice – another government commitment.

Responding to the news, health minister, Andrea Leadsom, said: “While this is positive news, we know that there is more to do to make it easier and quicker for patients to contact their general practice and continue to focus on delivering the Primary Care Recovery Plan.”

The government’s primary care recovery plan aims to equip general practice with the latest technology to help people contact their GP, especially during the ‘8am rush’. As of August this year, over 1,000 general practices had signed up to the digital upgrades.

Victoria Atkins, health secretary, added: “We owe a debt of gratitude to all the staff working in general practices for their support and commitment to their patients and for achieving the target of 50 million additional appointments months ahead of schedule.

“Our Primary Care Recovery Plan is going even further with more appointments, more staff and greater support from pharmacies – backed by funding – meaning we can offer the primary care patients need.”

Image credit: iStock

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