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We will wait to see GP, say patients

Patients are prepared to wait up to eight days on average to see their GP about minor ailments such as back pain, a survey reveals.

The British Attitude survey also shows almost two-thirds were prepared to wait longer than the current 48-hour access target.

For a more serious complaint, such as a chest infection, patients wanted to be seen more quickly, but a quarter of the 3,600 patients questioned would be prepared to wait beyond 48 hours.

The annual survey also showed satisfaction with GPs remains the highest in the health service. Dentists' approval rating plummeted 10 per cent in the past year. Overall satisfaction with the NHS was up in England, but down markedly in Scotland.

Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the King's Fund, who conducted the analysis of the results, said patients' raised expectations may affect how long people were prepared to wait in the future.

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