Waiting for GP appointments could make patients more ill

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650,000 patients found it difficult to get an appointment with their doctor

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Wales claim that patients struggling to get GP appointments could be getting sicker and need more expensive treatments as they delay visiting overworked GP’s.

With an estimated 650,000 people in Wales finding it difficult to nab an appointment, the RCGP have revealed that surgeries are “buckling under the strain of rising workloads”, as they struggle to cope with falling resources. It predicts that bu 2017, up to 800,000 people could find it tricky to book in with their GP.

The main concern for doctors is that ill patients might not bother to make an appointment since it tends to prove difficult.

Making an appointment

RCGP Wales chair Dr Paul Myres, who represents 1,800 members from more than 2,000 GP’s in Wales, told BBC News “Sometimes that’s fine because many problems get solved of their own accord without anyone doing anything about it. Many conditions are self-limiting. But it is always a concern to us that people have difficulty getting access to us – that they delay their presentation until too late in the day and their condition then takes longer to treat. Just slightly over a third of people admitted they’ve have difficulty accessing their GP, so we already know that the service is not delivering as it should. We need to be available to see our patients roughly when they need us and that is not happening at the moment.”

Dr Myres has also raised concerns about the retention and recruitment of GP’s across Wales, with 23% of GP’s being over 55 and due to retire, there are question marks over who will replace them.

A government official said “Where there are recruitment issues that need to be resolved, health boards are working with the profession to develop innovative ways of providing primary care services in future. Making it easier for working people to get an appointment at a time convenient to them is something we set out as a key commitment of this government. The most recent figures show we are continuing to deliver on this commitment.”