This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs experience ‘overwhelming number’ of daily patient contacts ahead of winter

GPs experience ‘overwhelming number’ of daily patient contacts ahead of winter

GPs reported seeing an ‘overwhelming number’ of patients on Monday (7 November), including one practice which consulted 3% of its patient list in a single day.

During a discussion on Twitter, GPs said there had been a ‘tsunami’ of workload this week, before winter has even begun.

An LMC further warned that September had seen one in every two patients attending their practices. 

GPs said that they were especially concerned about what this demand means for the coming winter, when workload will increase further. 

Dr Dave Triska, a GP in Surrey, said that on a busy week his practice would usually see around 6% of its patient list, but it saw 3% of patients on Monday alone – an ‘enormous increase’ on what they normally experience.

He added that there were ‘overwhelming numbers’ of minor issues, driven in part by ‘significant psychological stress’ patients are experiencing. 

‘It might be due to the zeitgeist pressure of what’s happening in the world. People are concerned about their own health,’ he said.

Numerous GPs left comments below Dr Triska’s tweet, saying that their practices also experienced record numbers of patients on Monday, with one receiving 300 calls by 10am.

Kent LMC said in its newsletter: ‘Appointment data for September again demonstrated the tremendous hard work and dedication to patient care and access of general practice teams in Kent and Medway, with activity equating to almost 1 in 2 patients in Kent and Medway attending general practice.’

Last month, a Twitter campaign revealed that some GPs are seeing hundreds of patient contacts in a day despite the recommended safe working limit of 25.

Pulse also reported on a stark warning that demand for GP appointments is at record levels and ‘outstrips’ capacity announced by NHS England’s board.

And NHS England national director for primary care Dr Amanda Doyle confirmed there will be ‘no additional’ winter funding to support GPs over the next few months amid a ‘tight’ financial situation.



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

Patrufini Duffy 11 November, 2022 5:44 pm

Can I book a GP appointment Can I miss my appointment Can I book a GP appointment Can I miss my appointment Can I book a GP appointment Can I miss my appointment Can I book a GP appointment Can I miss my appointment Can I book a GP appointment Can I miss my appointment Can I book a GP appointment Can I miss my appointment Can I book a GP appointment Can I miss my appointment – Can I complain GPs are useless

Available to 80 million people – daily – individual cost = £0 effectively.

David Banner 11 November, 2022 5:46 pm

Winter Is Coming…….
With A&E knackered in JULY, we were always going to drive over the cliff by now. Buckle up, folks, it’s gonna get bumpy out there.

David Mummery 11 November, 2022 6:18 pm

It’s the fricking e-consultations and triage plus 111 – ‘ “ I had a slight tummy cramp and then coughed, then some clear liquid started coming out of my right nostril , then I sneezed, then I coughed again….’

Bring back direct access F2F now!!

Douglas Callow 11 November, 2022 7:14 pm

when you are full you are full
Signpost to WIC NHS 111 7 day GP service UCC

Anthony Matheson 11 November, 2022 10:24 pm

Silly me. I thought the Daily Mail was all knowing and that GPs were “still” refusing to see patients. The laziest journalism of the sh*tload of über-lazy, crappy journalism we’re now used to seeing from the Wail and Telegraph.

Darren Tymens 12 November, 2022 12:42 pm

Open up more access lanes to patients and this is what happens.
Tell them to behave like consumers, treat them like consumers but make the product free and this is what happens.
BMA needs to set limits on what the contract actually buys from us in terms of patient contacts, so we can also say we are full.
NHSE needs to stop dumping everyone else’s work on us in order to prop up a failing system.
Patients need re-educating on their ‘entitlements’ and their responsibilities.
We need to set better boundaries and be enabled to enforce them.
We need to educate NHSE and our politicians to stop worrying and talking about ‘access’ and start worrying and talking about about capacity.

David Triska 12 November, 2022 2:07 pm

I’ve had this number of ‘lanes’ for maybe 6 years now, the moment the safety catch came off was Summer 20. Steady, predictable numbers for years till then.

Patrufini Duffy 14 November, 2022 2:58 pm

Consultants are overwhelmed with private work. Most I know, work in a NHS trust for kudos, then 2-5 other private providers. They have no interest in clearing the backlog. You tell me how, you can work in a NHS Trust then walk to the other wing and do private. Here’s some big examples, UCL Lindo Wing, Kings Private London, Royal Marsden Private – it goes on and on. You can’t even sell a plaster. Pulses next article.

Zsuzsa Komlosi 15 November, 2022 2:08 pm

GP consultation number is increasing not because people are more ill than before, but they are more worried and less able to reassure and care for themselves.
Working in Practice and UTC too, I see patients who go to hospital with genuine but not urgent problems because they cannot get to see their own GP in Practice.
We have a set number of appointments in Practice and it is a lottery who will get those: the ill or the worried well. As the second group is disproportionately large and growing, we are missing the ill. Those than go to A&E /UTC clogging up the hospitals.
We can’t ignore the nationwide health anxiety and just keep chasing our tails trying to offer more and more appointments. We need to support our population to care for themselves.
This is our aim at Kingsnorth with high quality patient information on our website. (Work in progress)
E-consult safely triage patient for any red flags and then the relevant link could be texted to the patient instead of explaining things again and again to each individual.