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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Patients overwhelmingly satisfied with access to GP appointments

The annual GP Patient Survey has revealed that 92% of patients find making an appointment with their GP convenient.

The survey, carried out by NHS England, also revealed that more than three-quarters of patients rate their overall experience of making an appointment as good, although both figures show a minor decline on last year.

The poll of almost a million patients also highlights the fact that 80% of patients prefer to book patients by phone, while only a third would like to be able to book appointments online.

The figures on patient access contrast starkly with comments from health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has repeatedly singled out poor GP access as the principal reason for the four million additional people going to A&E.

Mr Hunt said in April: ‘When I have been visiting A&Es in recent weeks, hard-working staff talk about the same issues: lack of beds to admit people, poor out-of-hours GP services, inaccessible primary care and a lack of coordination across the health system’

GPC negotiator Peter Holden said these were ‘figures to die for’. He told Pulse: ‘It’s time we sung our own praises. I think we are providing [good access]… it is pretty good considering the extreme workforce constraints we have. And it’s a tribute to hard-work ethic that most GPs have.’

Readers' comments (19)

  • What absolute rubbish. The vast majority of patients are totally fed up with struggling to access GP services...as reflected by the massive increase in the use of walk in centre and A&E attendances

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  • I just cannot believe what I'm reading. In the area where I live (London) patients have to wait three weeks for an appointment! Are you living on another planet?

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  • This is a survey of a million patients, not a pulse opinion piece.
    Have you (7.24 and 7.44) considered that maybe you are either unlucky, unreasonably demanding or unrepresentative? If unlucky then change your GPs. Otherwise, change your newspaper or your expectations.
    I repeat...... A million patients.......

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  • Least likely Daily Wail headline of the year?

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  • Vinci Ho

    A lie cannot be disguised as the truth.
    The truth cannot be condemned as a lie.

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  • Vinci Ho

    The unfortunate minority should always be targeted and salvaged but it does not mean a sacrifice of reputation in the majority .....

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  • As one practice can be made up of 14.000 patients, a million is not really representative of all GP practices?

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  • 11.33

    Your stupidity and determination to stick to your opinion regardless of the facts is astounding.
    The poll was arranged by NHSE, possibly the most anti-GP organisation around. Why in God's name would they choose a million people who say what they do not want to hear?

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  • To anon@11.33am - these surveys are repeated annually and are sent to a percentage of patients, randomly chosen, at each practice. Are you suggesting that it is coincidental that similar results are reported year on year or might you, perhaps, be of the vocal minority?
    To earlier anon@7.44pm, why would you think that those outside London are living on another planet? Part of the public misconception is, I think, because most media types are based in London and think that any experiences reported there can be assumed to be the same throughout the country. As politicians seem to fall for this as well, the result is imposition of London solutions (eg Darzi centres) on the rest of us.

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  • Peter Simpson @7.42pm - I would surmise from your post that you are not a health professional (for whom this site is intended - see top of page) so might not understand how things are. Primary care workload has dramatically increased since the 2004 contract with increasing demand, increasing number of consultations per patient, shift of work from hospitals and increasing difficulty finding doctors who are able and still willing to take it on, not to mention the clinical time lost to admin - commissioning, CQC, etc. The capacity is not infinite and bearing in mind all the above, it seems likely that access problems will worsen.
    Attending A&E with a GP problem only increases the pressure on A&E while taking funding away from primary care, thus exacerbating the situation. Moreover, A&E doctors are not GPs - different specialties, you see, some common ground (as have all doctors) but not interchangeable.
    It is possible that the "vast majority" of your aquaintances think as you do but I would not describe 8%of the total as a majority, let alone a vast one.That the figure is only 8% might be seen as remarkable in the circumstances.
    My understanding is that the A&E data actually included the WIC figures hat you describe separately. WICs are a recent innovation, designed to be used, so it is not unexpected that there would be an increase in users, the starting point being zero.
    Hope this helps.

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