GP waiting times fall in Northumberland
People in Northumberland are waiting less time for a family doctor appointment than they did before the pandemic, new figures suggest
NHS Digital data shows around 72% of 186,646 GP appointments held in September across the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group area took place within eight days of being booked – up from 67% in September 2019.
At least 41% of consultations took place on the same day they were booked – compared to 43% two years before.
Some 64% of appointments took place face-to-face in September – down from 77% during the same month in 2019, but up from 59% in August.
Nationally, GP practices carried out 28 million appointments in September – five million more than the month before.
Face-to-face appointments increased from 58% in August to 61% in September, though still well below pre-pandemic levels (82%).
The Patients Association said that over the last year, primary care had settled into a pattern of fewer face-to-face appointments.
Rachel Power, chief executive, said: "Rather than primary care just falling into this way of working, we'd like the NHS to undertake an immediate programme of engagement with patients across the country to understand what patients' priorities are.”
Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Good, safe and personalised care can be delivered remotely."
Maria Caulfield, minister for primary care, said: “I know how important it is for patients to be able to see their GP in the way they choose and so it’s promising to see the number of face-to-face appointments is increasing.”