- Campaigners warn Britons are missing out on vital care as NHS ‘raising barriers’
The NHS is discriminating against older patients with one in six GPs now accepting online-only bookings, a study suggests.
Campaigners warn Brits are missing out on vital care as the NHS is “raising barriers” limiting opportunities to see a GP face-to-face.
This is forcing people to turn to private healthcare or overcrowded emergency departments and is hitting those without internet access hardest, said over-60s group Silver Voices.
Their survey of 1,200 members reveals that 76 per cent have experienced difficulty getting a face-to-face appointment with a GP.
80 per cent were forced to accept a telephone consultation and 71 per cent reluctantly saw another member of consultation staff.
Campaigners warn Brits are missing out on vital care as the NHS is ‘raising barriers’ limiting opportunities to see a GP face to face (File Image)
Meanwhile, 18 per cent have gone to A&E after failing to get an urgent appointment with their GP and 31 per cent have turned to private healthcare. According to the survey, one in six practices (16 per cent) are now operating an online-only GP appointment request process.
Only 24 per cent are still accepting walk-in requests for GP appointments. The NHS GP contract says patients should be able to make an appointment whether they attend in person or are contacted by phone or online. But the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that one in ten callers never get through.
Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, said: ‘The family doctor is becoming an elusive species with many hurdles to negotiate before the patient is finally granted a hearing.
“It is therefore natural that, in desperation, large numbers of older people turn to private healthcare or emergency departments.”
An NHS spokesperson said: “The NHS published a plan earlier this year to regain access to GP services, which includes upgrading telephone systems to make it easier for people to contact their general practice. ‘, while more than 31,000 additional staff have joined GP teams since 2019 to offer even more appointments.’