In practice it appears that the waiting time of the appointment has decreased by 21% after adding a self-care note for colds on the phone

Adding a simple message at the end of mobile phone lines about self-care for colds can shorten waiting times, a study suggests.

A practice in Scotland saw the waiting for routine appointments decrease by 21 percent after the patients decided that they no longer needed to consult a doctor.

It's because millions of patients have to wait more than two weeks to see their doctor in the midst of a personnel crisis that is damaging the NHS from all sides.

GPs retire early or leave because of workloads of established exercise lists and an aging population.

The ten areas in England where patients have to wait at least two weeks to see their doctor after calling. The figures are for February 2019, issued by NHS Digital

The ten areas in England where patients have to wait at least two weeks to see their doctor after calling. The figures are for February 2019, issued by NHS Digital

Teviot Medical Practice in Hawick, Roxburghshire, added a message to its telephone system last winter, which is known to continue to be used by GPs.

The automated clip, played for callers between November 2017 and March 2018, gave advice on the NHS Inform website.

Researchers led by Dr. Robin Kerr during the training counted the number of callers who stayed on line to speak to a receptionist.


The message given to patients calling Teviot Medical Practice in Hawick, Scotland is as follows:

Many people in the area are currently cold. It is common and usually disappears automatically within a week or two.

The most important symptoms of a cold are:

a sore throat

a blocked or runny nose

to sneeze

a cough

There is no cure for a cold, but you can take care of yourself at home by:

rest, drink a lot and eat healthy

taking freely available painkillers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to reduce any fever or discomfort

use of decongestant sprays or tablets to relieve a stuffy nose

You only have to contact your doctor if:

your symptoms persist for more than three weeks

your symptoms suddenly get worse

you have breathing problems

you develop cold complications, such as chest pain or coughing up blood stained mucus

Source: NHS Inform

They compared the numbers with previous data and discovered that they received 5.5 percent fewer routine calls when the clip was played.

Waiting for a routine appointment decreased by 21 percent, with the average waiting time for the & # 39; third available routine appointment & # 39 ;, which was reduced to 3.5 days from 4.42 days in the previous year.

Dr. Kerr said: & # 39; This [study] strongly concludes that the telephone announcements reduce the demand for GP appointments.

& # 39; This study has shown that the use of telephone announcements indicating suitable patients with the common cold in the direction of public pharmacy or self-management reduces conversations to talk to a receptionist. & # 39;

The findings were revealed in the British Medical Journal publication Innovations.

About seven percent of a doctor's problems can be treated at home or with a pharmacist, the doctors said.

After their investigation, the Teviot Medical Practice doctors said: & # 39; The authors encourage interested GPs to implement this intervention in their own practices to help improve self-management, reduce seasonal demand and improve patient access. & # 39;

This may be a more appropriate action in the midst of spiraling waiting times to see a doctor across the country.

About 3.8 million patients were unable to see their GP within two weeks in February, according to the latest NHS Digital data.

More than 920,000 have to wait between three and four weeks for an appointment, with some parts of the country colder than others.

A simple message at the end of the general practitioner's line about self-care for colds can reduce waiting times, suggest findings of an operation in Scotland

A simple message at the end of the general practitioner's line about self-care for colds can reduce waiting times, suggest findings of an operation in Scotland

A simple message at the end of the general practitioner's line about self-care for colds can reduce waiting times, suggest findings of an operation in Scotland


Swindon – 27.54%

Newark and Sherwood – 26.09%

South Norfolk – 24.21%

Isle of Wight – 24.06%

South West of Lincolnshire – 23.99%

North Norfolk – 23.61%

Darlington – 23.43%

Greater Huddersfield – 23.06%

Horsham and Mid Sussex – 22.77%

North Derbyshire 22.26%

In the CCG area in Swindon, nearly a third (27.54 percent) of patients had not seen their physician for at least 14 days after booking.

Chronic staff shortages in places such as general practitioner practices endanger the quality of care and waiting times, whereby staff do not keep up with demand.

More than 1,000 general practitioners have left the NHS since 2015 and official figures in February have shown that another 10,000 are expected to stop in the next five to ten years because they are 50 or older.

Nearly a fifth (18 percent) said they would leave or retire within the next two years, blaming unmanageable work pressure and the increased demands of an aging population.

Doctor pressures also include an increasing number of patients, some with multiple complex health problems.

This has led to concerns that the average 10-minute talk time in the UK – which is considered the shortest in the developed world – is simply not enough.

Doctors also avoid working extra shifts or leaving the profession early to avoid heavy tax bills on their retirement.

More than 3,500 doctors retired early to avoid banknotes of thousands of pounds when deducting pension savings, the government said this week.

The complexity of the crisis is expected to close 762 practices in the UK over the next five years, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners.

More than 2.5 million patients across England were able to complete their GP practices in the next five years, experts revealed in November.

In general, NHS staff shortages in England have reached more than 100,000 positions, according to three think tanks, the King & # 39; s Fund, the Health Foundation and the Nuffield Trust.

They predict that the situation could go up to nearly a quarter of a million by 2030 if not addressed.

CCGTotal number of appointmentsThe same day8 TO 14 DAYS15 TO 21 DAYS22 TO 28 DAYS<28 DAYSTOTAL> 14 DAYS%> 14 DAYS
NHS Darlington CCG46,94115,779692644223400317510,99723.43%
NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG161,40261,81527,57910,3485326403219,70612.21%
NHS North Durham CCG130,35158,31919,03187824942401417,73813.61%
NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG118,27045.44419,44085115349440818,26815.45%
NHS Northumberland CCG160,98974,23120,60612,8527763742728,04217.42%
NHS South Tees CCG140,80860,85318,50392736501692822,70216.12%
NHS South Tyneside CCG60,05422,9487953394823841825815713.58%
NHS Sunderland CCG114,67942,10919,53474555023433816,81614.66%
NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG60,54224,7189119354820391461704811.64%
NHS Blackpool CCG77,23828,66511,98963164979228513,58017.58%
NHS Bolton CCG96,90339,88814,36565634247310313,91314.36%
NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG64,90424,809968354613782402413,26720.44%
NHS Oldham CCG101,97642,65915,17782426653435019,24518.87%
NHS East Lancashire CCG142,27458,24621,92411,2598224568425,16717.69%
NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG75,28129,48012,40062263849305213,12717.44%
NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale CCG96,21936,83615,0798299499337105,00217.67%
NHS Greater Preston CCG62,11125,599986254063296195310,65517.15%
NHS Halton CCG56,18227,9756241380428421794844015.02%
NHS Salford CCG45,57120,1395985382726641746823718.08%
NHS North Cumbria CCG162,06869,83721,91211,1037467652025,09015.48%
NHS Knowsley CCG71,00531,86810,47936011852129567489.50%
NHS Morecambe Bay CCG143,14952,80321,65910,8019062753127,39419.14%
NHS South Cheshire CCG74,74028,12811,69768904722302614,63819.59%
NHS South Sefton CCG48,43722,27579682615114782945919.48%
NHS Southport and Formby CCG49,02921,3046516360521691953772715.76%
NHS Stockport CCG115,47845,70919,51410,2016470399520,66617.90%
NHS St Helens CCG71,55132,541967153613763176910,89315.22%
NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG107,55941,02215,61910,5377607468722,83121.23%
NHS Trafford CCG76,62530,75012,96858553722367113,24817.29%
NHS Vale Royal CCG39,59718,352633434251800839606415.31%
NHS Warrington CCG79,15937,25110,55759593467325212,67816.02%
NHS West Cheshire CCG106,28345.21217,03168944596333214,82213.95%
NHS West Lancashire CCG42,45614,7087263340617991388659315.53%
NHS Wigan Borough CCG106,63640,31815,47673885042366216,09215.09%
NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG78,41632,692911861385858448616,48221.02%
NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG85,34541,61610,25560714402465315,12617.72%
NHS Barnsley CCG113,51644,05417,86210.6925261513621,08918.58%
NHS Bassetlaw CCG55,30527,722601737953451333710,58319.14%
NHS Bradford Districts CCG168,94574,07320,47712,470943312,46934,37220.35%
NHS Calderdale CCG96,77242,24211,17183025851496319,11619.75%
NHS Bradford City CCG66,65634,6857410362020082663829112.44%
NHS Doncaster CCG147,12964,50021,33095215208522619,95513.56%
NHS East Riding or Yorkshire CCG125,16948,39920,04797367366749924,60119.65%
NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG100,64739,53413,57494046293750923,20623.06%
NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG66,35325,156982545033664301211,17916.85%
NHS Harrogate and Rural District CCG71,93629,993973457634134353413,43118.67%
NHS Hull CCG110,53941,81019,18796566755380620,21718.29%
NHS North East Lincolnshire CCG88,75041,52911,41772433966287414,08315.87%
NHS North Kirklees CCG84,55133,67210,22760133910439714,32016.94%
NHS North Lincolnshire CCG83,42136,52411,69656854007345513,14715.76%
NHS Rotherham CCG124,44047,45418,62110,0426231552921,80217.52%
NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG61,45821,565904654233478414713,04821.23%
NHS Sheffield CCG278,359115,17138,27523,82417,93419,38061,13821.96%
NHS Vale of York CCG142,23151,63025,15014,0338207461226,85218.88%
NHS Wakefield CCG189,44788,31421,37912,721980710,05632,58417.20%
NHS Lincolnshire East CCG118,03051,04019,23910,0807091607223,24319.69%
NHS Corby CCG31,72712,30559562390953938428113.49%
NHS East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG162,31467,29924,02711,8757761700726,64316.41%
NHS Erewash CCG44,29216,0857309410126792304908420.51%
NHS Hardwick CCG56,17722,434869246754088311411,87721.14%
NHS Leicester City CCG170,75172,53123,79811,0257906806326,99415.81%
NHS Lincolnshire West CCG89,85935,58913,04590195236378718,04220.08%
NHS Mansfield and Ashfield CCG89,44238,77611,73577955753574819,29621.57%
NHS Milton Keynes CCG120,67447,45416,82310,5906971739324,95420.68%
NHS Nene CCG297,794137,07538,00620,12114,77212,99247,88516.08%
NHS Newark and Sherwood CCG60,39023,102783858965609425315,75826.09%
NHS North Derbyshire CCG143,44753,40121,44811,699933110,90631,93622.26%
NHS Nottingham City CCG153,74065,78223,48310,5797342605423,97515.59%
NHS Nottingham North and East CCG64,29926,105824649614290367012,92120.10%
NHS Nottingham West CCG48,63318,8146564407030842413956719.67%
NHS Rushcliffe CCG63,67624,894999352713880336412,51519.65%
NHS South West Lincolnshire CCG61,33522,374926970144542315914,71523.99%
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG234,23097,65532,51518,87314.99914,61248,48420.70%
NHS West Leicestershire CCG182,96878,45826,13414,77611,22210,36636,36419.87%
NHS Cannock Chase CCG50,62419,6398763465722431259815916.12%
NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG170,53379,17622,98910,4045435393319,77211.59%
NHS Dudley CCG128,03150,08218,18611,2117503527323,98718.74%
NHS East Staffordshire CCG45.55519,5806166292519071793662514.48%
NHS Herefordshire CCG89,17638,01413,81185625774309417,43019.55%
NHS North Staffordshire CCG78,98833,45211,959544127671621982912.44%
NHS Warwickshire North CCG26,60813,82037481556871774320112.03%
NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG78,44430,12111,30860453950259112,58616.04%
NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG242,117115,78429,47612,2087251788827,34711.29%
NHS Shropshire CCG133,97555,12321,14210,8357568357221,97516.40%
NHS South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG87,74934,00612,64273595618300815.98518.22%
NHS South Warwickshire CCG136,07264,20417,40477884962410716,85712.39%
NHS South Worcestershire CCG132,09658,07519,31910,3327187490322,42216.97%
NHS Stafford and Surrounds CCG63,70928,827954248663373270610,94517.18%
NHS fires on Trent CCG99,12240,96915,41182923074231813,68413.81%
NHS Telford and Wrekin CCG76,04534,61011,998535021031258871111.46%
NHS Walsall CCG125,59545.34322,04695955386468019,66115.65%
NHS Wolverhampton CCG98,68736,98417,02376243979435615,95916.17%
NHS Wyre Forest CCG71,90536,8497264328726402734866112.05%
NHS Bedfordshire CCG200,57283,84525,89117,54214,92111,31043,77321.82%
NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG453,862217,71759,07729,81619,32917,40666,55114.66%
NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCG210,08989,10429,67018,65312,25811,43842,34920.16%
NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG189,68389,12222,37614,119982110,74934,68918.29%
NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG108,00747,17814,01189816773491020,66419.13%
NHS Herts Valleys CCG210,77185,95933,02915,8839852571831,45314.92%
NHS Luton CCG86,19936,15412,25371174281372415,12217.54%
NHS Mid Essex CCG157,40664,63322,64313,5179576741030,50319.38%
NHS North East Essex CCG155,35768,71420,49511,7798385609326,25716.90%
NHS North Norfolk CCG90,65933,46813,21581477647561121,40523.61%
NHS Norwich CCG108,21847,97913,68192767509569322,47820.77%
NHS South Norfolk CCG106,84442,68913.82710,1249158658225,86424.21%
NHS Thurrock CCG71,35132,3809330400325241521804811.28%
NHS West Essex CCG110,74551,13314,93191266071419319,39017.51%
NHS West Norfolk CCG95,69639,02913,30676436120674620,50921.43%
NHS West Suffolk CCG113,14150,81615,11187205617291117,24815.24%
NHS Barking and Dagenham CCG62,49725,588912948672062789771812.35%
NHS Barnet CCG108,04353,23514,19666904997299714,68413.59%
NHS Bexley CCG18,6186663374715851087547321917.29%
NHS Brent CCG134,72655,00022,35599423777160415,32311.37%
NHS Bromley CCG105,22443,04215,30089864878300516,86916.03%
NHS Camden CCG82,67735,11211,90265923527184711,96614.47%
NHS City and Hackney CCG125,52165,47112,67062883050163710,9758.74%
NHS Croydon CCG135,71558.78819,56677495209264115,59911.49%
NHS Ealing CCG173,22072,20524,83412,1276089374621,96212.68%
NHS Enfield CCG98,59843,04814,35188893685191614,49014.70%
NHS Hounslow CCG120,89343,80119,86510,4015249319118,84115.58%
NHS Greenwich CCG27,85812,88645931989642315294610.58%
NHS Hammersmith and Fulham CCG80,33630,86211,34052053424224110,87013.53%
NHS Haringey CCG88,73740,08812,42263002935112010,35511.67%
NHS Harrow CCG97,51736,41816,05775943387215413,13513.47%
NHS Havering CCG74,36327,10313,02268014238249213,53118.20%
NHS Hillingdon CCG99,11741,33817,01178202877146412,16112.27%
NHS Islington CCG84,15639,22611,55061684132229612,59614.97%
NHS Kingston CCG60,76828,9158443447222851304806113.27%
NHS Lambeth CCG139,72261,71420,56281913920188013,99110.01%
NHS Lewisham CCG107,28047,60816,46159613778184111,58010.79%
NHS Newham CCG132,28957,27719,60087354521240715,66311.84%
NHS Redbridge CCG100,39745.27114,28073183090144211,85011.80%
NHS Richmond CCG19,784795130381661822361284414.38%
NHS Southwark CCG115,08848,07219,26688494789163215,27013.27%
NHS Merton CCG68,51932,86910,3343914181693566659.73%
NHS Sutton CCG73,22633,05810,445416923281837833411.38%
NHS Tower Hamlets CCG132,42554,33219,34192214740277016,73112.63%
NHS Waltham Forest CCG101,51246,14415,9486253215971591278.99%
NHS Wandsworth CCG143,29261,30820,96596354847248516,96711.84%
NHS West London CCG93,93238.11513,44260592534175210,34511.01%
NHS Central London (Westminster) CCG75,14730,43412,26361473687239512,22916.27%
NHS Ashford CCG68,10035,3037839415323722219874412.84%
NHS Brighton and Hove CCG111,25549,87715.22168843991361314,48813.02%
NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG107.00545,90715,57390865316458618,98817.74%
NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG100,52544,03314,11871554976537817,50917.42%
NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG239,843103,20832,51619,86913,69711,58645,15218.83%
NHS Crawley CCG55,74425,655795151853595195510,73519.26%
NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG33931057597192876434310.11%
NHS East Surrey CCG74,59928,81411,84262064316272913,25117.76%
NHS Guildford and Waverley CCG79,40629,79211,06156444432368313,75917.33%
NHS Hastings and Rother CCG91,85140,13012,12455673772448413,82315.05%
NHS Medway CCG79,67135,66510,90069845047253614,56718.28%
NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG88,49134,27411,80376746287618420,14522.77%
NHS North West Surrey CCG127,54652,96418,59611,1437466621824,82719.47%
NHS South Kent Coast CCG42,53218,9936082300820321641668115.71%
NHS Surrey Heath CCG43,40518,7985570327419281168637014.68%
NHS Swale CCG41,01417,7914813356631152419910022.19%
NHS Thanet CCG56,79324,3818907500527232201992917.48%
NHS North Hampshire CCG95,65042,83611,98574755699251915,69316.41%
NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG83,86231,78714,02387217140278118,64222.23%
NHS Isle of Wight CCG71,15824,51310,32755995211631217,12224.06%
NHS Oxfordshire CCG304,843126,52644,36823,14016,18011,07550,39516.53%
NHS Portsmouth CCG86,06240,32911,91582794885210515,26917.74%
NHS South Eastern Hampshire CCG85,17539,44112,91563244042281113,17715.47%
NHS Southampton CCG114,78247,98418,16979005451413117,48215.23%
NHS West Hampshire CCG214,21989,88130,98219,84414,403929443,54120.33%
NHS Bath and North East Somerset CCG93,66838,85913,56078894593397016,45217.56%
NHS Dorset CCG359,596130,48056,56331,17821,50522,66975,35220.95%
NHS Gloucestershire CCG258,59499,15939,71823,45516,65113,85653,96220.87%
NHS Kernow CCG152,76064,50521,92112.31510,009683729,16119.09%
NHS Somerset CCG223,08494,60330,87817,08412,313929738,69417.35%
NHS Swindon CCG102,02536,56015,07011,6358572789028,09727.54%
NHS Wirral CCG145,53258,24821,77690527958443621,44614.74%
NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG206,65682,33428,95318,41213,183754939,14418.94%
NHS Manchester CCG224,573102,70331,46619,52012,925817440,61918.09%
NHS Buckinghamshire CCG199,27494,92724,92913,8068473747929,75814.93%
NHS Berkshire West154,76269,33120,92112,5938539457925,71116.61%
NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG432,571185,41062,12730,34921,21214,11265,67315.18%
NHS East Berkshire CCG158,78472,62721,21410,4495601419520,24512.75%
NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG518,489226,65275,88534,51921,52116,02172,06113.90%
NHS Leeds CCG388,798163,48256,64934,51121,33716,79472,54218.66%
NHS Liverpool CCG205,012112,13922,47110,6557629333521,61910.55%
NHS North Tyneside CCG89,30633,47716,33475014154407715,73217.62%
NHS South Lincolnshire CCG84.21041,72410,94557104007432114,03816.67%
NHS Basildon and Brentwood CCG102,60642,93414,44979685397472618,09117.63%
NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG63,16724,40110,63951663014250910,68916.92%
NHS Southend CCG63,88126,85610,695460618131264768312.03%
NHS Surrey Downs CCG113,19043,77816,70989916174599821,16318.70%
NHS West Kent CCG113,41743,99217,27894215938554720,90618.43%
NHS High Weald Lewes Ports CCG71,20629,88310,26955023082433812,92218.15%
NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG83,01032,02614,93176674360289614,92317.98%
NHS Wiltshire CCG247,778102,59436,74818,78514,30713,32946,42118.73%
NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG462,320187,71763,65134,29625,71521,86681,87717.71%
NHS South Devon and Torbay CCG167,99877,52522,12811,3748034634525,75315.33%