Patients face seven day wait to see GPs

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new figures claim over 100,000 patients in Leeds waited for seven days or longer when they last tried to see a GP.

Across the three Leeds clinical commissioning groups, 103,621 people said they had faced a wait of a week or more when they phoned for an appointment in the last year.

The annual NHS England survey, released earlier this month, also revealed that local patients struggle to see the family doctor of their choosing.

Across Leeds four in 10 patients who have a preferred GP had to see another doctor when they last went to their surgery.

And there are claims that the delays left 57,521 Leeds people – approaching one in 10 patients – said they would not recommend their family’s practice to new patients.

Over 45,000 patients in the Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group area had to wait for seven days or more.

The news comes after the YEP reported yesterday on new research which predicts the number of times GP surgeries in England are forced to turn away patients for appointments next year will pass the 50 million mark. Lack of investment is leading to an overstretched service in crisis which is struggling to meet patient demand, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has said.

In West Yorkshire, patients will be unable to speak to a GP or nurse on 2.3m occasions next year - up from 2.2m in 2013-14, it claimed.

RCGP honorary treasurer Helen Stokes-Lampard said there was concern patients who are unable to get an appointment may give up trying.

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said: “People want to be able to see the GP they trust, and who knows their family history, but are left phoning the surgery day after day only to be disappointed.

“Patients are waiting days or even weeks for appointments and that is forcing people to A&E in record numbers.”

But a spokeswoman from NHS England (West Yorkshire) said that on average 87 percent of patients across Leeds said their overall experience of GP services was good. She said: “NHS England in West Yorkshire is committed to ensuring patients have access to high quality, timely patient care and GP practices in the region continue to work hard to ensure their patients are seen in appropriate timescales. In the latest survey results on average 87 percent of patients across Leeds said their overall experience of GP services was good.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We know GPs are working under pressure which is why we have cut GPs’ targets to free up time with patients and are increasing trainees so that GP numbers continue to grow faster than the population.”

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