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Independents' Day

Patients concerned they will struggle to get a GP appointment

Three quarters (75%) of patients think it will become more difficult to get a GP appointment in coming years, a survey has shown.

The BMA poll of over 1,000 adults in England found that more people are dissatisfied with the NHS than satisfied (43% compared with 33%) - a figure which has doubled over the last two years.

In addition, more than four in five (82%) are worried about the future of the NHS, with 62% thinking the service will get worse in the coming years.

And seven in ten people think that the health service is headed ‘in the wrong direction’.

This comes as Pulse recently revealed that average waiting times for a GP appointment remain at two weeks despite last year's rescue package.

The top three concerns about the NHS were a lack of funding; that it will stop being free at the point of use; and that waiting times will increase.

The survey also found that and seven in ten people are concerned Brexit is overshadowing the NHS politically.

The BMA also polled GPs, finding that almost half (48%) have a vacancy in the practice they work in, of which 69% had been unfilled for more than six months.

This comes as Pulse revealed last month that almost one in five practices has had to abandon searching for a new GP as vacancy rates have hit their highest ever.

Speaking at the BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting today, chair Dr Mark Porter expressed deep concern about the findings, which he blamed on Government underfunding which he said was ‘an explicit political choice’.

Bringing up Prime Minister Theresa May's blaming of GPs for A&E pressures earlier this year, Dr Porter added: 'When almost a third of practices can’t fill GP vacancies, when they’re dealing with tens of millions more appointments than they did a decade ago, with a smaller share of NHS funding... fhe Prime Minister blames doctors?

'When her own government is so conspicuously failing to keep its side of the bargain and recruit the much-trumpeted 5,000 new GPs by 2020. Three years ago, it was a pledge. Then it became an ambition. Now it seems more like a mirage.'


Readers' comments (8)

  • David Banner

    In other news...
    -Autumn "may well" follow Summer
    - Christmas Day expected to be 25th December
    - Night predicted to follow day

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  • Patients however are not so concerned that they might agree to the itntroducion of charging for appointments.

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  • National Hopeless Service

    If you hit your head with a hammer it hurts. If you voted for a Tory government you get a sh#tty NHS.

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  • They were so concerned that they voted Tory.

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  • similar concerns around policing, education, health, public services, councils etc.

    we must not bring in charging for NHS patients. They shall not win!

    - anonymous salaried!

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  • Concerned they WILL struggle to get a GP appointment in future?

    Anyone noticed the problems we are having with providing enough appointments to meet demand already..?

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  • Maverick

    If... and only if there is a disparity between GP appointment availability and patient "want", could I suggest that HSE and HEE in collaboration with GPC, CQC and NHSE set up a federational think tank working party silo with cross referencing to pilot studies actioned by LMC/NHBC/MiBGGH blue sky action committees reporting to hand picked expert sub committees reporting to integrated local and regional CCGs working in partnership with foundation trusts and untrustworthy trusts to steer steering groups and local action dysfunctional non existent multidisciplinary directionally challenged and ill advised internationally uneducated and questionably funded symposia to meet the needwant of everybody and everyone (alive or dead). This directive will be supported by the double blind clinically meta analysisised statistically chronologised and studified accuratised informationalisation all available to download on twitter #bullshit.
    I'm so glad we have such a myriad of health support organisations looking after our every conceivable need, supporting us in our loved, cherished and well respected profession to care for those most dear to us.... our patients. Make that ... your patients as I don't have any... OH JOY.
    You too could be patientless... take a leap of faith...

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  • Maverick

    OOOPS, completely forgot RCGP... such an influential organisation.... and good value to boot.

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