Report warns over struggle to access GPs in Rotherham

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One in four patients are unable to get an appointment with their GP when they first call, a report in Yorkshire claims.

Rotherham’s Health Select Commission is urging action to improve GP access in the borough amid claims of waits of several weeks for appointments.

A survey of patients attending the town’s walk-in centre found a third had failed to get a GP appointment, while others were heading straight to A&E.

In a report, the commission found four in five of 36 practices in the town offered appointments outside core hours of 8am-6.30pm. One practice said one in eight patients did not turn up for appointments.

Review chairman Coun Emma Hoddinott said: “People’s health in Rotherham is generally below average for England and with a growing and ageing population and high incidence of long-term conditions, demand for GP services is high and likely to increase further.

“To meet this demand it is vital that we have an adequate number of GPs and other health care professionals and that GP practices have effective appointment systems and the right skills mix in their staff teams.”

NHS England, which commissions GP services, said latest survey results found 85 per cent of patients in Rotherham said their overall experience of GP services was good. A further 92 per cent said they were given an appointment at a convenient time.