Patients face long wait to see a GP

December 22 2018

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. The waiting times are similar to those in November 2017, when the figures first started to be collected for the CCG.

Two in five patients in the local CCG’s area were able to see a GP the same day the appointment was made.

Figures from the annual NHS England patient survey in the Fishponds area show that, among patients of the Fishponds Family Practice, 49% received a same-day appointment, 7% booked one for the following day and 14% had to wait more than a week.

At Beechwood Medical Practice, 58% of patients said they were able to book a same-day appointment, 9% had one on the following day and 8% had to wait more than a week.

At the Old School Surgery, 28% were able to book a same-day appointment, 10% had one the next day and 41% had to wait more than a week.

Eastville Medical Practice patients who answered the survey reported a 37% success rate in making a same-day appointment, while 12% were able to make one for the next day and 20% waited more than a week.

At Maytrees Medical Practice, 53% of patients were able to make a same-day appointment, 8% had one the next day and 22% waited for more than a week.

Other patients answering the survey either waited between two days and a week or 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.”