Home Health The doctor will see you… next month! Nearly 18 million patients had to wait over four weeks for a GP appointment last year – 38% up on the year before

The doctor will see you… next month! Nearly 18 million patients had to wait over four weeks for a GP appointment last year – 38% up on the year before

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The doctor will see you... next month! Nearly 18 million patients had to wait over four weeks for a GP appointment last year - 38% up on the year before

More patients than ever are having to wait at least a month to see their GP, shock data reveals.

NHS statistics show that 17.6 million appointments that took place in England in 2023 were booked a month early, or one in 20.

It marks an increase of more than a third in the space of a year, illustrating the dire crisis that has seen disgruntled patients abandon NHS surgeries in favor of private services or visit overcrowded A&E units.

Campaigners warn that delays, fueled by a shortage of GPs, put patients at risk of being diagnosed late or missing a serious illness.

The Liberal Democrats today warned that the NHS is “on its knees” and patients are paying the price.

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Across England, 347.9 million GP appointments were made last year, an increase of six per cent on the 328.4 million recorded in 2022, according to its analysis.

The number of patients waiting more than two weeks to be seen also increased.

Almost a fifth of appointments (17.5 percent) were booked a fortnight in advance, an increase from 15.2 percent in 2022.

Four-week waits accounted for 3.9 percent of all appointments in 2022. This figure increased to 5.1 percent in 2023.

Meanwhile, the share of same-day appointments fell from the previous year: 43.9 percent in 2022, compared to 43 percent in 2023.

What does the latest GP appointment data show?

Appointments made: 25.8 million

Attended: 89.8 percent

Seen by GP: 46.0 percent

Seen by the nurse: 20.4 percent

In-person appointment: 66.6 percent

Telephone appointment: 26.5 percent

The same day: 45.7 percent

Up to a week of waiting: 25.2 percent

Wait one to two weeks: 12.8 percent

Wait two to four weeks: 11.7 percent

NHS England data for December

The latest monthly NHS data shows there were 25.8 million GP appointments in December.

Almost half took place on the same day (45.7 percent), slightly higher than the previous month.

More than a quarter (29 percent) had to wait more than a week.

Data from England also found that two-thirds (66.6 per cent) of GP consultations were face-to-face.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey He said: ‘Patients across the country are in a desperate situation.

‘It has become common to struggle day after day to get a GP appointment, leaving people in pain and discomfort.

‘What this Conservative government has done to our NHS is nothing short of scandalous.

“They have brought the health service to its knees and it is patients and their loved ones who are paying the price for this negligence by the Conservative Party.”

‘It should be a given that people can see their GP when they need to, without having to fight.

“That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding that all patients have the legal right to see their GP within seven days and 24 hours if they urgently need it.”

NHS England argued that 2 million more GP appointments are now made each month compared to before the pandemic.

Dr Amanda Doyle, National Director of Primary Care and Community Services at NHS England, said: “The NHS last year published a plan to improve access to GP services, including improving telephone systems. to make it easier for people to contact their GP while More than 36,000 additional staff have joined GP teams since 2019 to offer even more appointments.

“This is incredible progress from hard-working teams across the country and we are determined to make it easier to access services related to people’s busy lives, so if you are worried about your health, please come forward.”

Family physicians, who earn six-figure salaries, on average, have reported making up to 90 appointments per day, a situation comparable to a conveyor belt.

The BMA recommends that GPs make no more than 25 appointments per day to ensure safe care.

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The latest NHS statistics show that in December there were just under 27,500 fully qualified GPs working across England.

This is just under 2,000 less than the figure recorded in the same month of 2016.

This despite the population growing by around 2 million during the same period.

Many GPs are retiring in their 50s, moving abroad or going private due to increasing demand, NHS red tape and aggressive media coverage.

This has led to an appointment crisis in general practice, with patients forced to endure the 8am fight. Others are forced to complete an online electronic consultation to get to their office.

GPs also say they feel overwhelmed due to the pressures of a growing and aging population and a lack of government funding.

Ministers have also quietly scrapped a promise to recruit 6,000 more GPs, which was a major part of Boris Johnson’s election-winning manifesto.

More than 7,000 GPs needed over the next 12 years

In December there were 27,487 fully qualified full-time equivalent GPs working in England, equivalent to one GP for every 2,078 patients, on average.

However, a ratio of 1,800 patients per GP is widely recognized by industry bodies as the “safe limit”.

As things stand, a further 4,238 GPs would need to be recruited to meet this ratio, MailOnline’s analysis suggests.

However, the ONS projects that there will be 6.6 million more people living in the UK from 2036.

Assuming this growth remains in line with current demographic trends, England’s population would reach 62.2 million.

Based on this figure, 34,536 GPs would need to work in the NHS to meet the ratio of one for every 1,800 patients, meaning an additional 7,076 GP roles will be needed over the next 12 years.

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