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 146.

    It's about time doctors and hospitals know who they are seeing. So easy to get a medical card just by signing up with a GP and having UK address. No checks are made at surgeries and hospitals to see if patients are UK residents and not just coming to the UK to use a free system. Let's have checks at surgeries and hospitals to see who is legitimate and who is not entitled to clog up the system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    GPs need to join the real world - they are very well paid for providing a poor service. We pay for this service, it's not free; we are entitled to expect better from them.

    They should work shifts and provide a 6am - 8pm service 7 days a week. This would take some of the strain off A & E and would enable patients to see a GP outside of office hours. Illness doesn't keep to office hours!

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    2 key points: GPs should be focussing 95% of their time on patient care NOT getting involved in admin. Second, a lot of those who turn up in A&E and waiting rooms don't need to be there in the first place. There isn't a problem if these factors were resolved. Turn up at the doctors and pay £10 a visit unless you are an excluded group (pensioners). That would resolve waiting times out in one go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    Apart from the recent spike in the death rate which government does not investigate, we have:

    GP surgeries being asked to do more with less resources, and take on more patients.

    A&E and GP waiting time on the rise.

    NHS funding cut in real terms.

    A top down reorganisation of the NHS,

    £Billions of services being outsourced (privatised).

    This is the exact opposite of what Cameron promised

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    I have to wait 3 weeks before I can see a Doctor. Stop immigration now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Doctors work for us, don't they?

    Perhaps we need a bigger say in what we want and need.

    Labour should hang their heads in shame for wrecking the way GP's deliver health care locally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Anyone claiming that sacking Doctors would help anything is wrong. It would not help the NHS as numbers would be further reduced putting even more pressure on the NHS. Furthermore people claiming that they would improve waiting times with these threats don't know that there are many countries around the world in desperate need of more doctor and nurse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    i've worked in the NHS for 12 years - for 9 years as a hosp worked out as £3.23. i . i often have to come in on w/e to catch up with paper work. the avg GP salary is £70k full time

    -If you are a GP you don't work in the NHS as you must know and the average earnings for GP's is in excess of £115,000 a yea

    By the way 106 nearly a 1000 GP's earn over £200,000 pa, more than the PM.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    GPs contracts need renegotiating.

    Labour made a ridiculously over generous settlement.

    The salaries were massively increased & their obligation to out of hours care removed.

    GPs are paid so much on their normal work they choose not to work out of hours. Now we have the highest paid GPs in the world, hence the foreign doctors flying in from abroad

    This is the root cause of the crisis in A&E.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    107. James - i've already cut down my NHS work by 40% - if the opportunity arises i will go abroad - listen to recent Radio 4 show that shows mass eflux of GPs and doctors to Australia and canada

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    I am torn between two attitudes here:

    Firstly being, we have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, which is on top of that free. If people want better service, I suggest they opt in for private practice.

    Secondly, that GPs are being massively overpaid for the amount of work and time that they put into their service in comparison to the vast majority of doctors who work for the NHS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Of course there is a reduction in Health Care, we have a Tory/LibDem government. Rupert's puppet Jeremy Rhyming Slang is determined to privatise Health Care so he and his pals can enjoy big profits at our expense.
    Back to the 80s when the 'pillar of Toryism - Public bad, Private good' dogma was rampant.
    Shame on the LibDems for going along with this attack on the NHS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Sometimes it can take outside perspective to cast a harsh light on our health service. I was friends with a French and Danish guy through work and they worked here for a year each. They used to be shocked at how long it took to get an appointment at a GP surgery (~2-3 weeks). Their reaction was simple, but true: " But, I'm sick now!". It was embarrassing and I felt obliged to apologize to them

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    The difference between now and 20 years ago is that then there was not 40 immigrants in the queue before you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    @15 By pay rise you mean given extra money to do (a lot) more work? This 'pay rise' was in 2004 - 9 years ago. Consultation rates where I work have DOUBLED in the last 10 years due to this extra work. It has been repeatedly shown that GP surgeries are hugely more cost effective than hospitals - starve surgeries of cash and increase their workload and where do people go? Straight to A&E...

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    If being a doctor is so easy and rewarding, why aren't you all doing it instead of typing rubbish into HYSteria about what your doctor should be doing just for you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Well I have a lot of respect for you. However even most accident and emergency centres do not have a consultant available at night. This is ridiculous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    It seems certain professions are exempt from having to supply a service. Nurses, porters, shop assistants etc etc. have to do more to earn they bit corn but not Doctors. I cal them Doctors but are they more than a bad head better send you to hospital. Waiting lists could be cut if Local Doctors did there job, instead of just taking the money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    Jeremy Hunt was unable, apparently ie Leveson, to keep tabs on a small team in Culture yet he was deemed fit by the tories to be promoted to Health just after the Olympic fiasco.

    There is a parallel at HMRC whose boss,the failed Borders supremo, attracted so much criticism, yet despite this she was promoted to head up the Revenue.

    What does that tell you about Tory intentions and priorities?

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    This is a direct consequence of the Tories' cuts and nothing to do with Doctors' pay. Dave is responsible, despite what he, Hunt and the right-wing press would like us to believe. The NHS is not safe in Tory hands - soon there'll be a good service for those who pay and something shoddy for those who can't. Trust Clare Gerada who promotes health, not politicians who have only one concern: money.


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