GPs predict longer waiting times - survey

Stethoscope The Royal College of GPs surveyed just over 200 GPs

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Patients will find it more difficult to see a GP in the future as budgets get squeezed, doctors are predicting.

A Royal College of General Practitioners poll of 206 UK GPs found that more than 70% were forecasting longer waiting times within two years.

Eight in 10 also said they did not have enough resources to provide high-quality care, the survey showed.

A Patients Association report this year suggested that people were already having to wait longer.

Six in 10 of those polled by the royal college said patients in England were waiting longer than the recommended 48 hours.

Primary care, which includes GP services, has been one of the worst hit by the funding squeeze in the health service.

Spending has effectively been frozen for the past six years in England, and while there have been rises in funding elsewhere in the UK, they have been smaller compared with those given to other parts of the health service such as hospitals.

'Breaking point'

The RCGP said this situation was beginning to have an impact.

Chairman Dr Clare Gerada said: "GPs are grappling with a double whammy of spiralling workloads and dwindling resources, and big cracks are starting to appear in the care and services that we can deliver for our patients.

"We are particularly concerned about the effect this is having, and will continue to have, on waiting times for GP appointments.

"The profession is now at breaking point and we do not have the capacity to take on any more work without extra funding and resources to back it up."

The poll showed that 78% of GPs had already seen a reduction in opening hours over the past two years, while nearly half had cut back on the range of services they offered.

Ben Dyson, of NHS England, said: "We fully recognise that demands and patterns of healthcare are changing, and that this is increasing pressure on parts of the NHS.

"That's why we have recently published a call to action about the future of general practice to help stimulate new, innovative approaches to providing services and ensuring every patient gets the care they need."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    My Aunt's (who is 90), left a message at the Surgery that she was in agony after a fall. GP rang me, he couldn't now contact her (surgery 2 road away). He pontificated so much, I told him to get of the phone, I'd check on her (I live 6 mile away). NHS Direct, ambulance, hospital was the order of play. She was released that night, nothing serious thankfully. Last good GP I knew was 20 years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    As a GP I am staggered at the ignorance here. Our average working day is 13 hours, including the partners who then often have meetings until 11pm and work at the weekends. I can't remember the last time I ate lunch at work. There is no room for more work in the system.

    The problem is pateints only see that we work from 8-6pm. They do not see the stacks of paperwork that come as part o

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    With tight budgets their primary focus is on following Procedures and washing off their hands but not Solutions to the health problem.

    The real solution is for NHS to start charging a Tenner for every GP visit and from 50 pounds to 500 for Hospital procedures and medicines capping at 1000 pounds a year per patient.This will go to ensure some quality in NHS and responsibility in patients.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    Can't help feeling that a view of GP's as a public service to eligible people, rather than running a small business (for which they have no skills) would improve matters. So bringing back out of hours service; running a flexible day to meet actual demand should be the norm in return for their high salary. And asking them to charge non citizens might buy a bit of extra help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    83 GPs are seeing 2x as many people as 10 years ago, the reason you have to wait is OTHER PEOPLE not your GP
    80 Drs cannot practice in the UK unless they speak english and pass exams to prove it
    60 immigrants are a lower percentage of a GP's workload than they are a percentage of the population,why? they're younger on average
    56 Full time nurses work 37.5 hours a week, doctors 48 hours a week

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    #65 "Can't book an appointment unless it over the phone they said."

    In my partner's big surgery in town you had to book for a doctor to call you to see if you needed an appointment. After she called me in tears for the 3rd time because she couldn't get her anti cancer drugs we changed to my local village surgery - Brilliant

    And for those blaming David & George - This was under NuLabour!

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    On the Isle of Wight pharmacists used to give flue jabs, nicotine replacement. This has been taken away by the now doctor lead replacement for the pct next year morning after pills will also be no longer available through the pharmacist. What's the connection oh yes they get a fee for doing these. Is it the hypocritical oath perhaps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    The Tories are breaking the very fabric of the NHS. The longer they have control the worse the NHS will get. If they can do so much damage in a first term Coalition, I dread to think what they will do if given a second term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    will not make much difference as we have to wait now

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    People should stop blaming GPs & NHS when the problem has been caused by Government cuts and the Govts move towards NHS privatisation. If the Govt continue to privatise the NHS then we'll have to pay for medical services when we need them and then people will moan because they can't afford to see a GP - wake up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    My GP(s) is/ are brilliant. Access is walking in on a week day morning and you will be seen; appointments in afternoon.
    Early morning and late evening appointments exist.
    This is of great credit to them as it is despite of rather than because of NHS changes.
    The 111 mess for example is known to have cost lives and it is foolish politcal changes that are abusive and other spheres criminal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    I must remember to be ill when it suits the doctor ! This country is descending into who cares not me ! a&e will become a war zone ! One way of getting the oap death rate up and more coffers for the Tory boys ! !

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    76. At my GP surgery not a single one of the 4 docs works FT- 2 work 4 days per week and 2 work 2.5 days per week. And yes doctors work very hard to qualify, no one would dispute that- but who do you think pays for that? The student fee they pay comes nowehere near it. I have worked with medical schools, and it costs 250k to fully train a doctor. We expect some service back for that investment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Jeremy ?unt

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    @81.US style healthcare isn't factually on anyone's agenda but European style hybrid systems need to be. The NHS is forecast to have a £30bn deficit by 2020 unless we do something - whether far higher taxation for everyone or being charged for things beyond basic services as in France, Germany et al. Interesting the OECD rates these systems higher than ours. We need objective analysis.Not slogans

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    My GP's waiting room is always busy, mainly with the doctor's extended family!

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    I have a great Doctor. What is the problem is immigrants, will get worse when the Roumanians come. They do not have a NHS there Brits pay for medical treatment I have been told by someone who went there. Ive seen Polish family 5 kids another on way. They will have paid little into the system,if anything at all. Well past the time for 2 kids only and immigrants to go private. No more free housing

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Taking, longer waiting times into account, perhaps we could see funeral services advertised in the waiting rooms. Does this also take into account the hundreds of thousands of newly to be admitted eastern Europeans, who will flood the country and its services, not the funeral type. I see a possibility that in the future you may as well book a meeting with your funeral parlour as well as your GP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    The Tories have succeeded in demonising yet another part of the NHS. It is so noticeable that many contributors on HYS have been duped by the right wing Tory press and the Government's constant slagging off of the NHS. The top down reorganisation of the NHS has put huge pressure on Primary Care. No I am not a doctor but see first hand the additional paperwork inflicted by this Government

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    Vip T no. 89

    Don't bother explaining. They're not listening. You can see what (some of) the public think - do you still want to stay in the NHS?


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