February 25, 2014
A total of 1 in 10 patients cannot get a GP appointment, figures show.
There were 340 million occasions last year when patients were unable to book a slot when they needed to.
The Royal College of GPs claims this is up by three million compared to 2011/12 and blames a lack doctors, nurses and receptionists.
Some surgeries are now so busy that there are queues of patients down the street waiting for an appointment – at one they have even resorted to bringing along stools from home.
It is partly due to the rising population as well as increase in elderly who tend to take up more of GPs’ time as they have a range of complex conditions.
But senior family doctors say they are not being given enough funding from the Government to hire extra staff to meet this demand.
Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP said: ‘People do need to see a GP as soon as possible for right action to be taken and the right treatment to be delivered.
‘And this is a worry we have: that the lack of access to GPs might be making some problems worse.’
‘The unprecedented decline in funding for healthcare in the community has brought general practice to its knees. GPs can’t keep doing more for less.’
The RCGP obtained the figures from the Department of Health’s annual GP patient survey which is carried out by one million members of the public.