UK fares worse than RWANDA for GP access: Just one in three Brits ‘can get an appointment within 24 hours’
Patients in Britain face some of the longest waiting times in the world to see a GP – and even those in Rwanda are seen more quickly, a study reveals.
Only one in three people in Britain (35 percent) say they can arrange an appointment with their GP within 24 hours.
This compares with a global average of two in three (67 percent) in the forty countries included in the Economist’s Health Inclusivity Index.
Only French (34 percent) and Canadian (31 percent) patients had to wait longer than British ones, while those in Turkey (88 percent) and Rwanda (87 percent) reported the fastest access.
Only one in three people in Britain (35 percent) say they can arrange an appointment with their GP within 24 hours
Nearly one in five patients in Britain (17 percent) say they have to wait longer than a week to see their GP, more than double the global figure of 7 percent.
Overall, Britain topped the rankings when assessing healthcare provision and inclusive policies, but fell to third place after taking into account patients’ real-world experience.
Less than a quarter of people in Britain (23 percent) say they can access dental services within 24 hours, compared to 56 percent globally.
And only 24 percent of people in Britain said they can access sexual health care within this time frame, compared to 51 percent globally.
A total of 63 percent of people in Britain say they experience barriers to healthcare, such as a lack of available appointments, inconvenient hours, distance and travel costs.
However, only 9 percent say they have been denied access to services, compared to 19 percent globally, the survey of 42,000 people found.
Australia topped the rankings overall and Sweden came in second, after taking into account patient experience.
Jonathan Birdwell, global head of policy and insights at Economist Impact, the consultancy arm of Economist magazine, said: ‘Measuring a country’s ability to deliver quality healthcare involves evaluating policies, but also assessing the ability of population to use their healthcare services.
“That’s why we’re pleased to add these lived experience indicators to Economist Impact’s Health Inclusivity Index.
‘The results of this phase of the Index show that high-income countries still have many improvements to make if they are to effectively translate their policies into action.’
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, President of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘GPs and our teams share our patients’ frustrations when they have to wait too long to access our care and services.
‘This is the result of years of underfunding in general practice, where the vast majority of NHS patient care takes place, and poor workforce planning, meaning we are increasingly delivering more care with less.
‘In September, GP teams delivered more than 32 million appointments, almost 5 million more than the same month in 2019, but with 827 fewer fully qualified, full-time GPs.’
The research also found that British patients had a high level of confidence in the healthcare information provided to them, especially through the NHS website.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘It is vital that the public can access primary care when they need it, and we are making it easier for patients to see and contact their GP, with an additional 29 appointments in every general practice, per worker. day, compared to 2019.
‘To help beat the 8am rush hour, we are investing £240 million to support practices that embrace the latest technology, and through measures like these the Government has delivered more than 2,000 more doctors and 31,000 more staff than in 2019.
‘We are also making progress in boosting NHS dental services – compared to the previous year, 1.7 million adults and 800,000 children are receiving more NHS dental care in England.’
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘NHS GPs and their teams are working really hard for patients by booking a record number of appointments.
‘Patients benefit from half a million more appointments every week compared to before the pandemic – and 40 percent of appointments take place on the same day.
‘Easier access to GPs and their teams is a priority for the NHS – so to deliver even more appointments we have recruited an additional 31,000 staff to GP teams since 2019 – helping us meet our targets early.’