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Mail Online names and shames GP practices with face-to-face appointment tool

Mail Online names and shames GP practices with face-to-face appointment tool

The Mail Online has named and shamed GP practices doing ‘fewest face-to-face appointments’, labelling them as the worst in the country.

The newspaper published a piece including tables of ‘the 50 GP practices with the lowest proportion of face-to-face appointments according to official NHS data’, and reporting patients saying that ‘certain practices don’t want to see patients.’

The article said: ‘Want to know how bad your local GP surgery is faring amid England’s never-ending appointment crisis?

‘MailOnline has crunched all the NHS data into one fascinating interactive tool to let you see everything you need to know at once.’

The tool, which uses NHS data from November, enables readers to search any practice in the country and find out what percentage of appointments are held face-to-face, how many patients are seen the same day they called and how satisfied they are with their GP.  

The piece also said that during November, ‘national statistics showed the number of in-face consultations dipped back to 69%’ and pointed at Bath Road Surgery in Hounslow as the surgery which had ‘the lowest percentage of appointments held face-to-face in November at just 15.3 per cent.’

It adds: ‘Many family doctors are choosing to retire in their 50s, move abroad or leave to work in the private sector because of complaints about soaring demand, paperwork and aggressive media coverage.

‘At the same time, the population has also grown, exacerbating the patient list size ratio.

‘MailOnline’s data is compiled from several different NHS sources. Not all GP practices submitted data to all of these different sources, meaning some aspects of their service are unknown.’

Earlier this month, Pulse published an investigation looking in detail at the raw statistics from NHS Digital, in response to negative media coverage about remote consultations.

Pulse placed every practice in England in a decile for each of the following (based on figures for October 2022): percentage of appointments that were face to face; average waiting times in days; and percentage of consultations that were carried out by GPs.

Our investigation showed what many GPs will already know: that to offer face-to-face consultations, practices generally can only provide lengthier waiting times and fewer appointments conducted by GPs.

The investigation concluded that practices ‘simply can’t offer a service involving a high number of face-to-face appointments, with short waiting times and with GPs – all of which a demanding media and Government insists on.’

It also added that when GPs see negative headlines, or health secretaries – and shadow health secretaries – saying ‘it is up to GPs to step up their game,’ this is ‘particularly galling’ and more likely to encourage them to leave the profession.

It is not the first time the Mail reports figures of face-to-face appointments as definitive parameters of ‘how bad a GP surgery is.’

At the end of last year, the BMA wrote to the newspaper to express its ‘anger at attacks and smears’ against GPs, following the latest GP-bashing article published by the newspaper.

A Mail Online article by columnist Sarah Vine had asked why GPs are ‘still using Covid as an excuse not to see patients’, saying that GPs were ‘guilt-tripping’ patients for ‘taking up their time’.

GPs also questioned the Telegraph’s choice to ‘name and shame’ a Surrey GP who moved to Cornwall and continued seeing the practice’s patients remotely while her colleagues sought a replacement GP.

Data out today showed that in December there were 26.8 million GP appointments – not including Covid vaccinations offered by practices in England – compared with 25.2 million for the same month in 2021.

More patients were seen face to face – at 68.3% compared with 61% in December 2021 – and 48.1% of appointments were on the same day also up from 45.8% the previous year.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

A Non 26 January, 2023 6:24 pm

I don’t care what the Daily Mail prints and neither should you.

Sam Macphie 26 January, 2023 11:00 pm

Would online newspapers publish figures or tools like this, if we did not allow NHS, Government to collect data like this? No.
So why not find a way to disallow NHS to collect the data or even discuss stopping the collection (of unhelpful, provocative data) with NHSE/Mandy Preachard CEO or Steve Barclaybanker, Health Secretary or Richman Sanuk PM (as President Biden of USA recently broadcast his name yet again). Their combined incomes would pay the wages of many more doctors and nurses: wouldn’t be so bad if they did anything worthwhile but doctors and nurses are worth so much more. Too much data collection.

Decorum Est 27 January, 2023 12:46 am

‘MailOnline has crunched all the NHS data into one fascinating interactive tool to let you see everything you need to know at once.’
That’s fantastic!
It really is.
I’m so amazed
That nobody ever considered this before.
The ‘hopelessly naive will be temporally reassured
While the pragmatists
WILL be shiting their panys.

Michael Green 27 January, 2023 7:57 am

Oh look, the Nazi’s favourite paper has taken a break from writing about Meghan Markle

Dr No 27 January, 2023 11:06 pm

This is just a prelude to the declaration of earnings in the Spring. Those of us who live in their practice area could potentially be victimised by the Neanderthals who read that poor excuse for a bog-roll. I’m not doing it. I’m gonna resign if it comes to it. NHSE be damned.

Dr No 27 January, 2023 11:08 pm

Yes but have we the collective spine to do it?

Dr No 27 January, 2023 11:08 pm

(responding to Sam above)

John Evans 28 January, 2023 10:21 am

Lots of tools in the Daily Mail.

One of them had his weekend / country home 2 doors down from my house. At the time when they were endlessly bashing GPs for earning too much.

Anonymous 29 January, 2023 6:58 am

All a bit misleading.

For example my practice lists crude numbers without FTE. Even GPs working one day a week, locums and trainees.

Hey looks like we are well staffed and yet don’t want to see nobody!!!! Noctors to the rescue.

Kevlar Cardie 1 February, 2023 10:08 am

Oh goody gumdrops! Will the named and shamed practices get a commemorative porcelain plate of Lady Di looking doeful outside a shut GP surgery ? £ 4.95 + P&P.


Today Ze GPs, tomorrow Ze Verld !!!!

David Jarvis 2 February, 2023 1:48 pm

Naming you can’t avoid. Shame however is entirely up to you. I am not ashamed of this. It is not within my sphere of control so sod it. This is victim blaming and entirely a result of government and NHS policy. They own the problem and need to reflect on how they are going to fix it. COI I have taken my pension early LTA hit despite actuarial reduction and was paying AA tax and cut to part time because of 60% tax bracket. Quite enjoying more time off. Unlikely now to ever spool back up to full time.