Half a million face more than two-week wait for GP in London

Exclusive: Southwest of the capital shown to have the highest proportion enduring long waits

More than half a million Londoners waited over two weeks for a GP appointment in September, the Standard can reveal, with analysis showing that the south-west of the capital had the highest proportion enduring long waits.

A total of 503,781 GP appointments which took place in London during the month had a wait time of more than 14 days - up 27 per cent on a year ago.

It comes after the Standard reported last month how the number of full-time GPs in the capital has declined by 3 per cent in four years while the number of patients has grown, suggesting that the workload for family doctors is increasing as staffing levels decline.

The figures show that south London had higher numbers waiting longer for appointments than those in north London. 13.5 per cent of patients waited longer than two weeks in south-west London, followed by south-east London on 13.1 per cent. In comparison, just 10.7 per cent of patients in north-east London and 11 per cent in north-central London waited more than two weeks.

There were 4,248,951 GP appointments across the capital in September, a rise of three per cent on last year. But the numbers waiting more than 28 days for an appointment also jumped by 35 per cent from September 2021 to September 2022.

Analysis of the figures shows that long wait times to see a GP are not just limited to London. One in five (21.6 per cent) patients in the south-west waited over a fortnight to see their GP, the highest figure of any region in England.

Former health secretary Thérèse Coffey last month promised that no patient would wait longer than two weeks to see a GP. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak backtracked on a pledge to fine patients £10 if they miss a GP appointment.

The Liberal Democrats, who conducted the analysis of GP wait times, have called on ministers to recruit an extra 8,000 GPs to deliver 65 million more appointments a year. The party set out plans last week that would give patients the legal right to see their GP within seven days.

Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, said: “Behind these statistics are so many people and families in London anxiously waiting for an appointment for worrying symptoms. Many are being seen far far too late.”
Tags: UK
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