GP crisis? Which GP crisis? More Brits think it’s EASY to get a doctor’s appointment than difficult and two-thirds say their practice is ‘good’… so use our interactive map to see how it’s going in YOUR area

Nearly half of patients find it easy to reach their GP, official figures show.

By comparison, only a third find it difficult to make an appointment with the GP.

Survey data collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) combines with a range of other reports to expose the reality of the never-ending appointments crisis plaguing millions of Britons.

Dissatisfied patients have long complained about having to go to A&E instead, putting extra pressure on flooded casualty wards.

The ONS report published today also shows that two-thirds of patients consider their GP practice ‘good’.

Less than a fifth think the opposite and say they have had a ‘bad’ experience.

The survey, conducted between January 16 and February 15, asked almost 90,000 participants about their experiences of contacting GP practices.

Of the people who tried to contact the GP practice for themselves or someone else in the past month, 49.4 percent said it was very easy or easy.

This was highest among patients in Coventry and Warwickshire (61.6 percent), Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICB (61 percent) and NHS Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (59.7 percent).

In comparison, 31.3 percent said it was very difficult or difficult.

The share that finds it very difficult or difficult is highest among 25 to 34-year-olds (40.2 percent) and lowest among people aged 70 and older (20.4 percent).

What do the latest GP appointment details show?

Appointments held: 30.4 million

Attended: 90.1 percent

Seen by GP: 45.2 percent

Seen by nurse: 20.4 percent

Face-to-face appointment: 66.6 percent

Telephone appointment: 26.1 percent

The same day: 43.5 percent

Waiting time maximum one week: 26.3 percent

Waiting time of one to two weeks: 13.7 percent

Wait two to four weeks: 12.4 percent

NHS England data for February

Patients in Derby and Derbyshire found it most difficult to reach their GP, with 42.4 per cent saying they found it difficult or very difficult.

Similar high figures were seen among patients in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (41.8 per cent) and Northamptonshire (40.4 per cent).

It comes after a damning analysis yesterday found that almost one in 20 patients have to wait a month for an appointment.

The number of patients faced with long waiting times of a month or longer has increased by 38 percent in the past year – from 12.8 to 17.6 million appointments.

In parts of the country such as the Vale of York, four-week waiting times have risen by 80 per cent in the same period, analysis of NHS data shows.

Patient groups said the long waiting times are further evidence of ‘GP deserts’ and warned the service is at risk of going ‘the same way as NHS dentistry’.

The latest NHS statistics show that there were just under 27,500 fully qualified GPs working across England in December.

This is just under 2,000 fewer than the number recorded in the same month in 2016.

This is despite the fact that the population has grown by approximately 2 million over the same period.

Many GPs retire in their 50s, move abroad or go private due to rising demand, NHS paperwork and aggressive media attention.

This has led to an appointment crisis in GP practices, with patients forced to endure the 8am battle. Others are forced to complete an online e-consult to reach their practice.

GPs, who earn on average £110,000 a year, also say they are overwhelmed by the pressures of a growing and aging population and a lack of government funding.

According to recommendations from the BMA and the European Union of General Practitioners, GPs in Britain should now make no more than 25 appointments per day to ensure ‘safe care’.

But some doctors are reportedly having to cram in almost 90 patients a day in some areas amid an appointment crisis.

GPs also warned today that strikes are still on the table.

Dr. David Wrigley, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) GP Committee, warned that GPs in England are ‘frustrated, angry and upset’.

He told LBC: ‘Like our fellow doctors and consultants, we would never want to go on strike, but it would be naive to think this is not on the table.’

The BMA is now considering ‘next steps’ after a referendum among GPs, carried out by the union, found that 99 per cent of 19,000 respondents had rejected the new NHS contract.

Separate ONS data released today on NHS waiting lists also suggested that the number of Britons waiting to access treatment could be up to 50 per cent higher than reported by official figures.

Nationally, the waiting list for routine treatments such as hip and knee replacements was around 7.58 million in January, according to monthly NHS data.

Backlogs soared in the wake of Covid, with strikes and staffing crises exacerbating the problem despite Rishi Sunak’s best efforts and pledge to cut queues.

But the ONS found that 9.7 million people in England – a fifth of all adults – are currently waiting for a hospital appointment, a test or medical treatment through the NHS.

About 1.4 million patients have been waiting for more than a year.

Reacting to the figures, Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s shadow health minister, slammed Mr Sunak for ‘breaking his promise’ to cut the waiting list, and branded the NHS crisis as ‘even worse than it looked’.

He said: ‘Pull back the cover and the crisis in the NHS is even worse than it seemed. One in five people in England are on waiting lists, and they are waiting longer than ever before.

Around 664,000 people in Britain sought private treatment in the first nine months of 2023. This represents a jump of seven percent from the previous record of 618,000 in the same period in 2022.

‘Rishi Sunak has broken his promise to cut waiting lists, and now he plans to close services and cut doctors and nurses.

‘The longer the Conservatives remain in power, the longer patients will wait.

‘Only Labor has a plan to reduce waiting lists. We will provide an additional two million operations and appointments in the evenings and weekends, so that patients are seen on time again.’

Meanwhile, Brett Hill, head of health and protection at consultancy Broadstone, said the figures proved why a record number of Britons are now ditching the NHS and moving to the private sector.

He added: ‘While NHS waiting lists and difficulties in accessing GP services are not new, this latest data set reiterates the enormous pressures currently impacting the healthcare system in this country.

‘Of particular concern is the large gap between the NHS waiting list data and the findings of the ONS survey, which shows that the proportion of British adults now waiting for medical treatment or advice is much higher than previously thought.

‘This is why we are now seeing record numbers of private healthcare admissions, driven by insurance solutions, as employers step into the healthcare gap and support their workforce with a range of services that can help prevent and treat medical problems.’

The latest figures from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), which shares information on the performance and costs of private treatments, show that aAround 664,000 people in Britain sought private treatment in the first nine months of 2023.

It represents a jump of seven percent compared to the previous record of 618,000 from the same period in 2022.