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Third of patients want improved standard GP access



A third of patients are unhappy with access to GP appointments, a Monitor survey has claimed, which GP leaders have said demonstrates the need for more resources to be directed towards standard access.

The survey of 3,315 patients by the healthcare regulator found that 81% of patients were satisfied overall with their GP practice and a large majority of GP practices perform well against quality indicators used by commissioners and regulators, while 93% said their practice had a good reputation.

It also found that a large number (30%) said they found it difficult to get an appointment, 34% were unable to book online, while 35% could not get to see the same doctor.

Catherine Davies, executive director of cooperation and competition at Monitor, said: ‘Commissioners have the chance to help the NHS meet the needs of a growing and ageing population by improving access and capacity of GP services in England.’

Responding to the report, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC chair, emphasised that the majority of patients are satisfied overall, and that the Government should focus on giving GP services the backing they need.

He said: ‘These findings support the BMA’s consistent message to politicians that GP services do not have the resources, staff or infrastructure to meet rising patient demand. Many GP practices are struggling to treat the sheer number of patients coming through their doors and deliver enough appointments.

‘Despite this, the Monitor report says that a substantial majority of patients are satisfied with their GP practice… This is down to the hard work of GPs and is despite the pressure they are under.

He added: ‘Instead of promising patients undeliverable services, ministers need to focus first on ensuring GP practices can actually deliver basic care to their local patient populations.’