We have recently been looking at the activity data for GPs in Southend. This is in response to local and national reports about patients not being able to get face-to-face appointments with a GP. NHS data shows that more and more patients are able to get a face-to-face appointment, with increasing numbers on the same day of booking.
We also looked at the responses received in the national GP Patient Survey for 2021. We focused on how easy it was for patients to get through on the phone to their practice, as this is the first step in accessing any sort of appointment. Although 6 out of 10 people said it was “easy” or “very easy” to get through, this leaves 4 out of 10 people experiencing problems. There is also a big difference between practices about how easy it is to get through. When we looked further, we found that a number of people with health conditions such as mental health or cancer have found it harder over the last couple of years to access a GP by phone.
We have asked the Clinical Commissioning Group to respond to our recommendations about improving access.