New research has revealed that Preston residents face an average waiting time of 10 days when booking GP appointments.Advertisement
The research conducted by medical negligence experts Boyes Turner Claims reveals that Preston patients had to wait 11 days before seeing their GP while the national average sits at seven days.
Across the UK, 68 per cent of patients discovered that waiting times are up to twice as long for GP appointments than they were before the pandemic.
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The research analysed NHS Digital data on waiting times alongside a national survey of UK adults who have attempted to see their GP in the last six months.
It found that 26 per cent of Preston residents had to contact their medical practice several times before they could book an appointment, as there were no bookable slots left or they could not get through to reception staff.
On average, it took them 4.1 days to get booked in, and there was an average additional wait of 5.8 days before the appointment took place.
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Richard Money-Kyrle, Partner of the Medical Negligence team at Boyes Turner, said: “The impact of the pandemic on health services has been all-encompassing.
“The NHS has been responding to unimaginable pressure since the initial coronavirus outbreak, and our research indicates that the impact on patients is continuing, especially when it comes to securing a speedy appointment with a medical professional.
“It is concerning that so many patients are resorting to self-diagnosis, visiting A and E and even alternative therapies simply because they cannot discuss their ailments with a trained medical professional in a suitable timeframe.
“We would urge the public to persevere with booking an appointment with their GP when needed and seek advice from 111 or pharmacists if more urgent.”
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Some patients were seen on the same day (14 per cent), but a worrying number have waited more than a month in total (10 per cent). Many (32 per cent) said they are still waiting to get an appointment.
Across the nation, on average, people said they have had to wait at least seven days to secure an appointment, but one in ten waited 15 days or more. For coronavirus-related illnesses, people have waited 16 days on average.
Alarmingly, those who deemed their need as ‘very urgent’ waited an average of 7.4 days, while those who stated their need for an appointment as only ‘quite urgent’ had a delay of 5.6 days.
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The majority of people included in the study (68 per cent) felt waiting times were up to twice as long for GP appointments than before the pandemic. The data showed that one in every twenty-five people (4 per cent) had to wait more than four weeks for a confirmed appointment.
The delays have seen patients look to other means to see a medical professional or even try and deal with their ailments themselves. In Preston, 20 per cent called 111, while a further 20 per cent ignored the problem altogether.
Nationally, one in twenty (5 per cent) resorted to attending A and E because they could not secure a GP appointment, while over a quarter (27 per cent) decided to search for an answer to their issue online. One in ten explored alternative therapies.
For more information, visit – https://www.boyesturnerclaims.com/news/gp-appointment-waiting-times-england
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