Patients face NHS postcode lottery when it comes to seeing a GP – check where yours ranks

By Staff 7 Min Read

The latest tranche of data from the NHS shows that patients face a postcode lottery when it comes to how long it takes to see their doctor – a total of 2.7 million patients had to wait longer than 22 days

Millions of patients faced a three-week wait to see their GPs in February according to new data from the NHS.

The latest tranche of data from the health service shows that patients face a postcode lottery when it comes to how long it takes to see their doctor.

A total of 2.7 million patients had to wait longer than 22 days from the time they booked their appointment to when it took place in February. That is one in every 11 appointments or 8.8% of all those booked in February.

This number is an improvement on the previous month, with January seeing 9.5% of patients waiting more than 22 days – while the all-time record high came last October with 13.4% of patients waiting over 22 days.

Our interactive table below will show you how long the wait to see a GP is in your local area.

However, it is not all bad news – of the 30.4 million GP appointments that took place across NHS England in February, more than three-quarters (77%) happened on the same day they were booked.

Numbers were higher in the previous month, in January 80.7% of appointments took place on the same day and in December it was 84.3%. However, the numbers were similar in February last year, with 78.5% of appointments happening on the same day then.

The data also shows that where you live also has a huge impact on where you live. One out of every six appointments in Gloucestershire in February (16.6%) took place more than 22 days after booking. That’s the highest percentage in the country.

Meanwhile, in Dorset it was 14.1%, in Norfolk it was 14.0%, in Derby and Derbyshire it was 13.9%, and in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, it was 13.6%. On the other hand, only 3.2% of GP appointments in North Central London took place more than 22 days after booking.

In North East London it was 3.9%, in North West London it was 4.2%, in South East London it was 4.7%, in South West London it was 4.9%, and in Coventry and Warwickshire, it was 5.2%.

Dr Amanda Doyle, National Director for Primary Care and Community Services at NHS England, said: “The NHS is meeting its targets, with hard working GPs and their teams making tremendous progress across the country. But we know there is more to do – that’s why the NHS is implementing the major plan we announced last year to improve access to GP services, which includes upgrading telephone systems to make it easier for patients to contact their surgery, and we’ve boosted the workforce with an additional 36,000 staff joining GP teams since 2019, all helping to deliver even more appointments.”

Primary Care Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “We are determined to make our healthcare system faster, simpler and fairer for all patients, and this data shows that through the incredible work of GPs and their teams, we are now delivering significantly more appointments per working day compared to the same time last year.

“We are committed to ensuring that everyone who needs an appointment is able to get one, and our primary care recovery plan demonstrates how we will deliver for all patients who use our fantastic NHS.
“Our goals are clear, and we have already delivered on a number of pledges – including exceeding our target of 50 million additional general practice appointments per year, several months ahead of schedule.”

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