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Patients are overwhelmingly satisfied with GP services, even though most do not believe they can get an appointment within 48 hours, separate opinion polls have found.

A YouGov poll for the

Daily Telegraph found 76 per cent of patients were very or fairly satisfied with the service GPs provide.

Some 77 per cent said GPs' explanations during consultations were very clear and 85 per cent were confident their GP would successfully diagnose and treat their condition.

Yet only 44 per cent said they were always seen within 48 hours for a non-urgent

appointment ­ well below the 99.8 per cent figure shown by Government statistics.

GPs said the findings revealed the inaccuracy of Government figures and that they were giving patients the service they needed depending on the seriousness of their case.

Dr Mayur Lakhani, chair of the RCGP, said the picture was not as bleak as was often painted. 'Access is an important element of quality and there needs to be a strategy for hard-to-reach groups such as teenagers or commuters, but access has improved.'

Young adults were the least happy group, with just 19 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds saying they were very satisfied compared with 47 per cent of over-50s.

A Mori poll for the Department of Health, conducted in November last year but released last week, found 88 per cent of patients were satisfied with their GP.

It concluded: 'GPs are, as with previous research, viewed almost equally by recent users and by the general public, and remain one of the most trusted groups of professionals in Britain.'

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