This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

Government admits it has no idea how many GP patients attend A&E

The Government has admitted it does not have any figures on how many patients go to A&E because they cannot see a GP, despite No 10's claim that the crisis in the NHS is down to GPs not working hard enough.

David Mowat, minister for primary care, revealed the gap in evidence in response to a written question from shadow health minister Justin Madders.

Mr Mowat said: ‘The proportion of patients who have attended accident and emergency departments because they have been unable to get a timely appointment with their general practitioner is not held centrally.’

Despite this, he added that the Government was ‘committed to improving access to GPs services’ and that ‘by 2020 everyone will be able to access routine GP appointments at evenings and weekends’ – claiming that ‘17 million patients have already benefited from extended access to GP appointments at evenings and weekends through the GP Access Fund’.

Mr Madders tweeted the response to his question:

It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May provoked the ire of the profession by ordering GPs to open their doors seven days a week, telling national newspapers that practices were blame for the crisis because they were not opening during evenings and weekends.

Tory MP and health committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston said the Prime Minister ’should apologise’ to GPs for her comments and the BMA has criticised the Government for scapegoating GPs over the crisis

Yesterday Pulse revealed that over a quarter of GPs are working unsafe hours because of their heavy workloads


Related images

  • A&E entrance - emergency - emergency - online
gp heroes nominations2020 180x250px

Readers' comments (10)

  • Theresa Maybe apologising? Don't hold your breath. Watch her deflect the suggestion by attacking Labour's past record or Corbyn's personal hygiene or haircut or teeth ... You get the message..

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Really they should forgot the whole 8-8 7 day access. There is no money or appetite for this anymore. They should really focus their attention on Brexit

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Re above - they won't do that, they need the two to deflect from one another...

    Brexit problematic? Quick, say something odious about GPs!
    Health care in crisis? Better stir the Brexit pot...


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    In line with her philosophy in Brexit , Auntie May's real message is:
    'No NHS is better than a bad NHS(draining the economy)'
    Apologise ? Behave yourself !

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Dear All,
    WE have an avoidance scheme, "GP" patients in a/e have their surgery rung up by A/E staff to see if we can see them. Its happened once in the last 5 years. Whilst on he phone i offered the nurse he was with an appt that afternoon, when she relayed it to him i could hear his response"but thats not convenient!".
    Paul C

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just Your Average Joe

    It is incredibly simple - if a patient comes to A&E with a problem that is not an accident or Emergency - needing genuine A&E care - they should all be turned away without being seen and sent back to access primary care/111.

    No other patient should be seen unless comes via ambulance or with a GP/walk in letter or 111 referral code.

    problem solved.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just Your Average Joe

    A&E crisis in lack of beds - Correlates almost to the exact number of beds the local hospitals and community beds that have closed over the last 10 years.

    If the closed wards were still open all the A&E corridor patients would have a bed without having to shove people into day units, paeds wards etc.

    Feel free to check this number in your own area.

    Also look at how many elderly patients live alone with minimal support or family nearby. This is a social problem as even with a couple of care visits a day which might just support them on a good day, all it needs is a fall, or bout for D&V/urti and they are unable to cope with living alone, and often end up in A&E/hospital due to poor support care.

    This elephant in the room, of social engineering required to fix 'dump your parent/granny syndrome' is a bite they are unwilling to take, let alone swallow.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So true - just your average jo.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • When i was urgent care lead of our old PCT - we did an interesting piece of work. We spent the day in A&E. We asked every patient why they had come, about ⅓ said they couldn't get an appointment with their GP. We then rang their GP - pretended to be a relative and in every single case we were able to get them a same day or next day appointment with their own practice. In one case - the practice were very confused as the patient in question had already rung that morning been given an appointment that afternoon - the patient eventually admitted that they felt that was too long and they'd rather sit in a&E for 4 hours than turn up for a timed appointment later in the day... clinically in my opinion they had a trivial self limiting illness that probably should have gone to a chemist. Patients lie, they also have bizarre motivations. We felt at the end of the day that they were using the "myth" that they couldn't get an appointment as an excuse for turning up. Interestingly in my area we dont have a walk in centre - and i do wonder if some patients would prefer that to a timed gp appointment. One practice locally runs a sit and wait surgery - despite being told repeatedly they need to go to appointments - they get amongst the highest patient satisfaction scores

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Occasionally an A&E report mentions that the patient could not get a GP appointment - mentioned I'm sure in only a small proportion of those who actually make that claim. Whevnever this occurred, I used to write on the report the number of appointments available that day at the time the patient attended A&E and fax it back to them. Was quite therapeutic. Sadly the hospitals have done away with faxes so I now remain angry and frustrated.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say