GP patients ‘sicker due to waits’
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Wales has said that surgeries are “buckling under the strain of rising workloads”. It estimates 650,000 people in Wales found it difficult to get an appointment last year. The Welsh government said the number of GPs and spending on them has increased.
By 2017, it says up to 800,000 people in Wales could find it difficult to secure a convenient appointment. RCGP Wales chair Dr Paul Myres, who represents 1,800 members from more than 2,000 GPs in Wales, said the worry for doctors is that some patients might not bother trying to secure an appointment.
“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”. He went on to say that retention and recruitment of GPs was a major issue in north Wales, while across Wales 23% of GPs were over 55 years old and that many did not have successors lined up to take over their practices.
This is a concern not only in Wales but over the UK generally and there is further concern that as patients struggle to get appointments their conditions are worsening.
Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “For some time there has been concern about the delays in getting GP appointments in a timely manner and the general consensus appears to be that this will only get worse in which case patients with illnesses which require referral or timely treatment will suffer. This is a huge concern.”
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