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Hundred million one-week GP appointment waits by 2020, RCGP warns

Patients will be waiting over a week for a GP appointment on almost a hundred million occasions by 2020 if current trends continue, the RCGP has warned.

New analysis by the college also predicted that on over 50 million occasions patients will not be able to see a GP at all.

Currently, there are 69 million annual occasions of waits of over one week, said the college, but this will rise to 98 million in four years’ time.

Last year, patients who could not get a GP appointment did not seek healthcare elsewhere on 9.4m occasions, and if this trend continues this number will be 46.8m by the end of 2020/21.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said the figures were futher evidence that general practice is ‘in crisis’ and, in response, the Government must ‘guarantee’ the rollout of measures announced in NHS England’s General Practice Forward View.

She said: ‘The fact that, if current trends continue, patients will have to wait to see their GP for more than a week on almost 100 million occasions by 2020 is shocking – and poses a clear risk to the health of thousands of patients…

‘We now need a guarantee from the new Prime Minister, the new Chancellor and the health hecretary that the [GP] Forward View will be delivered in full.’