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One in four patients ‘wait more than a week’ for GP appointment

Less than a third of patients are seen by their GP within 48 hours and one in four have to wait more than a week after making an appointment, according to a new survey which has thrown the spotlight back on GP access.

A poll of 2,000 adults across the UK by Aviva Health UK found 80% of patients were satisfied with their care after seeing a GP – but many were unhappy with the length of time they had to wait to do so.

Patients reported spending an average of 10 minutes waiting to get through on the phone, but the number one complaint about GPs visits was waiting a long time in the surgery, with 47% saying it was annoying.

Some 30% said they had been able to get an appointment within 48 hours, a finding which came in the wake of the DH's decision to scrap the 48-hour target in June last year.

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of Sefton LMC, said access had suffered as GPs assumed wider commissioning responsibilities: ‘I do think this reflects what we are seeing. Everyone is a lot busier these days and there's less room to absorb work flow fluctuation.'

‘I think this is a dialogue that we have to have with the general public.'