More than a quarter of patients waiting a week or more for a doctor’s appointment
The number of patients waiting a week for a doctor’s appointment has doubled in the last five years, with more than a quarter of patients waiting a week or more, a survey shows.
Of the GP patients in the Lewisham CCG who responded to the NHS’s annual GP Survey, 27 per cent had to wait a week or more to see a GP or nurse last time they booked an appointment. Five years ago, just 14 per cent had to wait that long. Patients at Deptford Surgery had the longest wait in Lewisham, where 45 per cent of patients had to wait a week or longer to see a GP or nurse. At the other end of the scale, only 9 per cent of patients faced a week’s delay at Nightingale Surgery, and 34 per cent were seen on the same day.
Prime Minister Theresa May has previously vowed to ensure all doctor’s surgeries would open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, unless they proved there was no demand.
The survey shows that fewer than two thirds of patients in the Lewisham CCG are happy with the appointment times available to them.
It means that 7 per cent of patients in the area ended up not accepting the last appointment they were offered , over a quarter of them because there were none available soon enough.
Of those who did not take an appointment, 10 per cent went on to visit a hospital A&E – the service which extended GP hours are supposed to be taking the strain off.
An NHS Lewisham CCG spokesperson said the survey showed some services needed improvement – especially getting through to someone over the phone.
They said there were more appointments available through the GP Extended Access service.
“NHS Lewisham CCG is committed to offering our residents better health and best care,” they said.
“Therefore, we offer a range of different ways for patients to access GP services, which includes our GP Extended Access service.
“The service provides access to an additional 29,914 appointments each year with GPs and nurses seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.
“Our survey showed that 87 per cent of people who used the service were either very satisfied or satisfied with the care and treatment they received. Patients can also access GP services online for booking appointments and repeat prescriptions.
“We are currently developing a symptom checker app,” they added.