Analysis of the latest GP Patient Survey for England reveals a marked worsening of access to GP surgeries over the past five years, largely as a result of sustained Tory underfunding of primary care services.
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, has slammed Theresa May’s record on General Practice and pledged to ensure GPs are given the resources they need.
Millions of patients are finding it significantly more difficult to contact their GP surgery over the phone compared with five years ago, including:
• A nine per cent increase in patients finding it ‘not very easy’ or ‘not at all easy’ to get through to their GP surgery by phone
• A ten per cent fall in patients finding it ‘very easy’ or ‘fairly easy’ to get through to their GP surgery by phone Millions of patients are finding it increasing difficult and having to wait longer to see or speak to their preferred GP compared with five years ago, including:
• A fall of almost ten per cent in patients ‘always or almost always’ able to see or speak to their preferred GP
• A seven per cent increase in patients waiting ‘a week or more later’ until they actually saw or spoke to a GP/nurse Millions of patients are finding it increasingly difficult to get a timely appointment at their GP surgery.
Over the last five years this includes:
• Increase in people unable to get an appointment to see or speak to someone
• Increase in people finding the overall experience of making an appointment ‘Fairly Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’
• Fall in people finding the overall experience of making an appointment ‘very good’
• Increase in people saying they have to wait ‘far too long’ for an appointment
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to the 2017 GP Patient Survey, said: “This research exemplifies just how hard it is becoming to see a GP in Tory Britain, with patients’ overall experience of their GP services getting drastically worse.
“Overworked and underfunded GPs are struggling to cope with rising needs from patients. Across the country GPs and practice staff are working to keep the service running in the face of astonishing neglect from Theresa May and her ministers.
“The British public deserves better. Labour would give GPs the resources and support they need to provide better and more accessible services for patients.”