Nearly 100,000 Gloucestershire Patients Faced Delayed GP Appointments
New NHS figures show that fewer than one in two patients (41%) were able to see their GP on the same day as they asked for an appointment in February as almost 100,000 patients in Gloucestershire waited more than eight days to see their GP in that very month.
Judging by these figures, it can be said that it was the worst performing authority area in England that month.
However, a spokesperson said demand for GP services continued to be "extremely high" while the government on its own part said it was investing in a catch-up programme to tackle appointment backlogs.
'Better than average'
The February figures were 9% worse than in January when 93,440 patients had to wait more than eight days for an appointment.
In their defense, a spokesperson from the NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said GP practice teams in Gloucestershire were doing a fantastic job under challenging circumstances.
They said: "Whilst we recognise that some patients are waiting longer than we would all like to access an appointment, it's important to highlight that patient satisfaction rates (86%) are higher than the national average (82%). Some of these waits may have been clinically appropriate, depending on the appointment. Surgeries have adapted the way consultations can be offered to keep patients safe and make sure those with the greatest need are seen first."
They also added that face-to-face consultations make up 69% of appointments in Gloucestershire, which was above the national average of 61%.
However, health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat group Paul Hodgkinson, said this was not sufficient. He said, "Desperate people are turning up at A&E, piling pressure on the NHS at a time it can least afford it. GPs and all practice staff work incredibly hard, yet years of neglect under this government have driven them into the ground, forcing huge numbers to consider leaving the profession because of burnout."
Tim Harman, a cabinet member of the Public health and communities said; "The Conservatives are investing a record £36 billion into a catch-up programme to tackle NHS backlogs and reform adult social care."
The data released shows that the areas with the highest number of patients waiting eight days or more were Gloucestershire (31.5%), Dorset (31.2%), Sheffield (31.1%), East Riding of Yorkshire (31%) and Stafford (30.8%).
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