Waits to book GP get worse say figures

GP appointment waiting times increase in South West Lincolnshire. Photo: PA. EMN-181228-140840001
GP appointment waiting times increase in South West Lincolnshire. Photo: PA. EMN-181228-140840001

More than 10,000 patients in south west Lincolnshire are waiting at least three weeks to see a GP, new figures reveal.

NHS data shows 12,360 people in the South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which represents GPs across the Sleaford area, had to wait at least 21 days to see a doctor after booking an appointment in October 2018 (this includes regular pre-booked appointments).

That is 17 per cent of all patients, compared to a 10 per cent national average. Of them, 6,300 waited over a month. Waiting times worsened in comparison with November 2017, when 16 per cent of patients waited for at least three weeks.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “It can be incredibly stressful to face a long wait before getting to see a doctor, quite apart from prolonging the length of time someone has to live with the medical issue that is troubling them.”

A third of patients in South West Lincolnshire CCG were able to see a GP the same day the appointment was made.

A spokesperson for South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Our GP practices across South West Lincolnshire are working hard to see patients as quickly as possible. We have recently introduced an extended access service that offers extended hours (6.30pm-8pm weekdays and 9am-12pm weekends) pre-bookable appointments for routine non-urgent GP services. This new service is part of our wider plan to strengthen our out of hospital strategy, integrate care within the community and improve collaborative working between local GP practices.

“As well as GPs there are a range of healthcare professionals who can provide advice and support, at GP practices and away from GP practices.”