LENGTHY WAITING TIMES FOR GP APPOINTMENTS

The GPs at Woodside Medical Centre are working flat out to do the very best they can for their patients in increasingly difficult circumstances.

Across the country GPs are very disappointed that waiting times have increased, but they are hardly surprising as what we are seeing now is symptomatic of the inevitable effects of a decade of underinvestment in our family doctor service – and just not having enough GPs in the system to meet demand.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, recently said: “Our service is the lifeblood of the NHS – we manage risk and uncertainty as well as considering all aspects of our patients’ lives when delivering care.”

“Without general practice, other NHS services would crumble, but we urgently need more support, including more GPs, if we are to deliver the safe and effective care that our patients need and have come to rely on.”

In a recent BBC article Prof John Appleby, chief economist and director of research at the Nuffield Trust states: “These results (decrease satisfaction in GP waiting times) should make the government sit up and take notice.

“If they want to see satisfaction rise, my suggestion is they should think seriously now about more money for healthcare over the next few years.

“The public are concerned about headline measures and things they really notice like waiting times.

“We have seen over the last 18 months or two years increasingly hospitals miss their targets in terms of their A&E waiting times and their inpatient waiting times.

“We know that people are increasingly dissatisfied with their access to getting GP appointments and so on, so there is clearly something to be done.

“It’s not just about money to fix these problems but these are the things that the public notice and they care about, so it’s something that the government should also notice and care about.”

At Woodside we feel we are offering the best service we can in these difficult circumstances and as Professor John Appleby suggests we are awaiting the government to find solutions to the current General Practice crisis.