Nearly a quarter of County residents rarely able to get GP appointment - The Worcester Observer

Nearly a quarter of County residents rarely able to get GP appointment

Worcester Editorial 7th Jul, 2017   0

AN INDEPENDENT county health watchdog has found nearly a quarter of Worcestershire residents it surveyed were rarely able to get an appointment to see their GP.

The shock findings came after the latest ‘Going to the Doctor’ poll by Healthwatch Worcestershire conducted in the six months to March.

Watchdog chiefs asked 459 people from across the county for their views and 23 per cent admitted they rarely or never got an appointment.

A total of 47 per cent of those asked were able to get an appointment at the time and on the day they wanted while 30 per cent admitted this was ‘sometimes’ the case.

Despite the high profile given nationally to proposed seven day access to GP services, there did not appear much demand for this from local people surveyed by Healthwatch.

Around 20 per cent of those questioned would find Saturday morning routine GP appointments useful but only three per cent were interested in an appointment on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday.

If further routine appointments could be made available the most popular times for respondents were after 6.30pm or at lunchtimes on weekdays.

Healthwatch chiefs found a number of those asked would be open to the idea of visiting another GP surgery in their area if an urgent appointment wasn’t available at their own GP.

But they also heard concerns from respondents who still wanted to see a doctor who knew them and especially about transport or travel difficulties.

A number of local GPs now offer telephone consultations and most people asked said they found or would find this option helpful if needed.

However, Healthwatch said it believed the NHS needed to review how well this system works for people whose first language is not English, those who may be hearing impaired or have communication difficulties or youngsters and workers who cannot easily take phone calls during the day.

The watchdog also suggested GP surgeries look out for people who may have had a number of telephone consultations over a short period of time and consider arranging a face to face appointment.

Healthwatch vice chair Jo Ringshall said: “We know from talking to people that GP services are highly valued by people in Worcestershire, and we know that surgeries are very busy places.

“Healthwatch wants to make sure that people who may find telephone consultations difficult, for a variety of valid reasons, are still able to easily see a GP if they need to. Do let us know your experience.”

Visit or e-mail [email protected] for more information on the survey or alternatively call 01386 550264 .

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