Health report reveals patients’ misery getting GP appointments

PUBLISHED: 11:54 11 February 2017

(c) Stockbyte

Hundreds of people in North Somerset are struggling to book GP appointments, experiencing problems with treatment and medication and are finding it harder to get to surgeries in rural areas.

A survey commissioned by patient representative group Healthwatch North Somerset has shown people across the district are finding it harder to get appointments to see their doctor, while issues such as practice mergers and delays in carrying out referrals to hospitals also mean people are increasingly unhappy with their surgeries.

Some 209 people out of the 603 surveyed had experienced problems in making appointments, accessing their surgery or had faced issues with receiving treatment or ordering medication.

With regard to making appointments, some of the most common complaints from patients were that it was often difficult to get through by phone at certain times of the day and that all GP appointments were gone within minutes of a surgery’s phone lines opening.

A number of people also raised concerns about getting to their surgery, as practice mergers mean people in more rural areas are forced to travel to other villages to see a doctor.

People said they feared this would have a particularly bad effect on elderly patients, who may not be able to travel long distances.

NHS England said it would continue to work with North Somerset’s doctors’ practices in light of Healthwatch’s recent findings.

Laila Pennington, the head of primary care for NHS England South West, said: “A number of recommendations are for practices themselves and as commissioners of primary care, our role is to encourage and support GP practices in trying to implement any changes.

“We will continue to work with practices in North Somerset to try to get the best care for patients.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the North Somerset Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the North Somerset Times