Leeds NHS bosses say most patients ‘satisfied’ with GP services

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The city’s NHS bosses have insisted most patients are satisfied with GP services after a national study found people were finding it harder to see their family doctor.

Research published today found that it was becoming increasingly difficult to get an appointment with a known GP compared to five years ago.

Maintaining a relationship with a regular doctor has been shown to boost health and reduce hospital admissions.

Yet the national study, published today in the British Journal of General Practice, said there had been a “marked and widespread” decline in continuity of care.

A spokesperson for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “In the most recent patient survey 87 per cent of people surveyed rated their overall experience of their general practice as good.

“This is higher than the national average and an overall increase for Leeds on the previous year.”

The CCG said 370,000 GP consultation took place in the city every month.

The spokesperson added: “Along with this high volume of demand and workload, the CCG and GP practices are aware that access to general practice needs to be balanced with continuity of care. There is a condition in the national GP contract for patients to be assigned an accountable GP to take responsibility for overall care and for ensuring contracted services are delivered.”

Extended access to evening and weekend GP appointments is also being rolled out in Leeds, the CCG said.

The national study looked at patient survey data from 6,243 GP practices in England over five years.

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, of the Royal College of GPs, said the findings were disappointing.

She added: “But GPs across the country are striving to provide continuity, even if not in the traditional sense.

“Some practices, for example, are using innovative approaches to continuity of care whereby patients might not always see the same GP, but they will see, and build relationships with, one of a small team who will all have access to their medical records.”