Major change to GP appointments set to affect millions – are you impacted? | The Sun

PEOPLE will no longer be fobbed off by their family doctor when calling for an appointment and asked to 'call back later'.

From May 15, GPs that cannot offer an appointment right away will be obliged to provide people with an assessment there and then – or signpost them to an "appropriate medical service".

NHS England hopes the change to the way people get appointments will "ensure consistency in the access patients can expect".

If a GP appointment is not offered, the surgery can send patients to NHS 111.

GP practices can already refer patients for a same-day consultation with a community pharmacist.

Health leaders have warned the move will lead to more GPs leaving the profession and more patients waiting longer for care.

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Dr Kieran Sharrock, acting chairman of the general practitioners committee in England, said in a statement last month that ministers have focused on “eking out” more from practices without providing the necessary resources.

He said: “Without investment to do more, practices have to free up resources from elsewhere.

"This hasn’t been properly considered. Ramping up GP workload, and without the support needed, will lead to more GPs leaving the profession.

“Ultimately, it’s our patients who suffer most, and this means more of them will be left waiting longer for the care they desperately need.”

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It comes as GP surgeries were forced to suspend routine appointments to cope with the wave of  junior doctors' strikes after Easter.

Meanwhile, new figures reveal that patients are facing a postcode lottery in seeing their GP.

Family doctor numbers fell by nearly 3,000, while patient lists jumped from 58 million to 62 million, between 2016 and 2022.

Daisy Cooper, for the Lib Dems, alongside Labour’s Wes Streeting, said patients were finding it impossible to get an appointment.

Ms Cooper said: “Communities across the country are seeing ever falling numbers of GPs treating ever growing numbers of patients, in a stark postcode lottery.”

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