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GP appointment waiting times continue to rise

An increased number of patients waited a week or more to see or speak to someone the last time they contacted their GP surgery, the latest GP patient survey has revealed.

NHS England’s ‘GP Patient Survey – National summary report’, conducted by Ipsos MORI, found that the vast majority of patients’ satisfaction with their GP remains highly positive.

However, it also found that there were problems with accessing GPs in hours, finding that one in ten patients were unable to arrange a time to see or speak to someone at all when they last tried to do so.

At the same time, 17.9% of patients this year had to wait for a week or more for a phone or in-person appointment, up from 15.9% last year and 12.8% in 2012.

It comes after a Pulse survey recently revealed that GPs believed the average waiting time for an appointment is set to hit two weeks in a year’s time, due to problems with workload and the continuing recruitment crisis.

Despite the problems faced by GP funding and workload, 92% of the 858,381 patients asked said they had trust and confidence in the last doctor they saw or spoke to from their surgery.

Over 80% had a positive experience the last time they visited their practice, while 87% said their GP was good at listening.