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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.’