Nearly four in 10 or 39 per cent of those who tried to get in touch with their family doctor over the past month faced a struggle to make contact.
Recent ONS data shows the challenges many people are having getting in touch with their general practitioner. Based on data obtained between January 4 and 14, 2024, over 25 million people attempt to contact their general practitioner (GP) for themselves or a loved one each month.
This translates to over 9.8 million people experiencing difficulties scheduling an appointment or making routine medical contact.
The data for the period of December 13–January 1 shows a significant rise from those for the previous year when 30 per cent of respondents who reported attempting to get in touch with a general practitioner stated that it was challenging to get through to the practice because of labour disputes.
It is the busiest November on record for GP teams, with 31.4 million appointments recorded by NHS England in November 2023.
Broadstone head of health & protection Brett Hill says: “Increased demand for GP services driven by a wave of Covid infections and other seasonal winter pressures have seen more people struggling to access their GP.
“GP access is critical because it offers patients a quick way to diagnose and treat health issues before they worsen into longer-term illnesses that can threaten lives and livelihoods. If people are struggling to get appointments it means early warning signs of serious illness will be missed and chronic illnesses could be left to fester ultimately driving longer-term health implications across the country.
“It is little surprise that we are seeing growing demand from employers for private healthcare options like digital GP services and regular health checks. Rather than leaving their employees battling to get a GP appointment, these employer-funded and arranged medical services can help employees quickly identify and address potential problems to keep them healthy and avoid the long-term absences which have driven economic inactivity sharply upwards.”