Thousands face a struggle to see GP

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Shock statistics have revealed that almost one in five local patients have faced a wait of a week or more to see a doctor.

A new survey from NHS England shows that 16.83 per cent of patients who took part from the Nottinghamshire West area, which includes Eastwood and Kimberley, had waited seven days or longer for an appointment with their GP.

This translates to 18,463 people.

Furthermore, 33 per cent of patients surveyed locally said they either ‘never’ or only ‘some of the time’ are able to book an appointment with their preferred doctor.

Brenda Allison, a patient of the Church Walk surgery in Eastwood, said that she recently struggled to get an appointment with her GP for some test results.

The 77-year-old from Phoenix Court, Hilltop, said: “I’ve been waiting for my appointment for a fortnight so that I can see the doctor that I want to.”

Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero said that she was very concerned by the survey figures.

She added: “Ministers need to take full responsibility and explain to the people of Eastwood why they have to wait longer to get an appointment with their doctor.”

She added: “I am backing plans which would see patients guaranteed an appointment within 48 hours or an appointment on the same day for those who need it.”

Dr Guy Mansford, NHS Nottingham West Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) chief clinical officer, said it was working to resolve the issue of waiting for appointments.

“We recognise that unnecessary delays in getting an appointment can be frustrating for patients,” he said.

“It is frankly unacceptable that there are such national variations but we do have plans in place in Nottingham West to make this a thing of the past for our patients.

“Our member practices are part of a new scheme that will make sure that all practices are open for the same times and that they work towards offering an appointment within three working days to 90% of our patients requesting to see any doctor, in addition to same day appointments for more urgent problems.”

‘Put Patients First’, a campaign by the Royal College of General Practitioners, calls for a UK-wide increase in the share of funding that goes into general practice from 8.4 per cent to 11 per cent of the NHS budget by 2017.

It argues that this is vital in order to safeguard patient care and reduce waiting times to access GPs.

In neighbouring areas, the survey figures for those who had waited a week or more for a GP appointment were:

Southern Derbyshire 11.82 per cent; North Derbyshire 11.29 per cent; Nottingham North and East 15.53 per cent; and Erewash 19.46 per cent, which is the highest in the East Midlands.