Average wait for GP appointment now longer than two weeks for first time

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Patients with a non-urgent need wait about 15 days, with some unable to book an appointment for five weeks.

Only one in five family doctors said patients were able to get an appointment less than a week after contacting their surgery, while 27 percent said they waited one to two weeks.

Some 31 percent reported an average wait of two to three weeks. Between three and four weeks was most common for 16 percent of GPs.

The figures were released by Pulse, the publication for GPs, which polled a total of 901 UK family doctors.

One GP said: “Patient demand continues to soar with higher expectations despite dreadful Government funding. MPs have a lot to answer for.”

Another said: “We currently have barely any pre-bookable appointments available due to lack of capacity.”

NHS England disagreed with the research saying almost half of people who contact their GP get an appointment on the same day or within 24 hours.

However, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “People are waiting too long for routine appointments.

“The concern is that non-serious conditions might deteriorate, or patients give up trying to see the GP and we miss signs of serious illness early when it could be dealt with simply.”

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