65% of patients live with medical problems longer than they would like, or avoid going to the doctor altogether, because they are unable to get a GP appointment at a suitable time. According to research by Aviva, 27% wait more than a week for an appointment with their doctor.
Since the removal of targets for GPs to see patients within 48 hours, 30% were seen by a GP within 48 hours when they made an appointment over the last 12 months. An encouraging 80% are happy with the quality of the medical treatment or advice they received.
Patients experience different average waiting times to see a GP across the UK. 39% in Wales waited at least seven days for an appointment over the last year; while 33% in East Anglia and 32% in London also waited over a week. 9% in East Anglia waited over two weeks for an appointment. The regions with the highest proportion seen within 48 hours are the East Midlands (37%), West Midlands (35%) and South West (34%).
Waiting a long time in the surgery is the number one gripe about visiting a GP, with 47% finding it annoying, while 40% are unhappy about not being able to get through on the phone. 37% find waiting over 48 hours to see a GP a cause for complaint. The average time spent waiting in the surgery over the last year was 21 minutes, while patients spent on average 10 minutes to get through on the phone. However, 77% found GP’s receptionists helpful once they got though.