Patients wait a week to see GP

PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 September 2018

Archant

North Somerset patients have had to wait up to a week to see their GP, statistics have revealed.

More than a quarter of NHS GP survey respondents in the Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) said they had to wait a week or more to see a doctor or nurse last time they booked an appointment.

Dr John Heather, leader of the North Somerset locality group, a partnership of surgeries, blamed recruitment problems, an ageing population and lack of funding as some of the reasons behind the delays.

The survey revealed 27 per cent of people in the BNSSG CCG waited more than seven days, compared to 16 per cent who waited that long five years ago.

Dr Heather said: “There are a number of reasons for GP waiting times rising, there is no magic bullet.

“We have a very large number of increasingly frail people and a large number of care homes.

“In England we have an ageing population, there is an expectation of what you can do for the patient and this need is growing all the time as people are living longer and their health deteriorates.”

Dr Heather said 50 per cent of job vacancies in the area are left unfilled after a year.

He added: “Young doctors are very sparse and people are looking to work as a locum instead of in a partnership.

“The more attractive places to work are near universities or in cities like Bristol.”

Dr Heather has urged people to stick with their own doctors to ensure care standards are upheld.

He added: “When you see your family doctors, they know you, have access to your records and can prescribe the best care.

“Locums will put in a lot more investigations as they are seeing you for the first time.”

A BNSSG CCG spokesman said: “The NHS annual GP survey is one of a number of surveys which indicate the level of patient satisfaction with their GPs and in the vast majority of cases surgeries across the area are performing at or above the national average on a range of indicators.

“The CCG is working closely with practices to reduce waiting times and in particular, practices in Weston are working with us on a pilot project which is looking at how patients can be seen quickly by the right person.”

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