Millions wait a week to see GP


Patients waited more than a week to see their GP on almost 50 million occasions last year, according to figures that illustrate the delays people face when accessing basic NHS care.

An analysis by the Royal College of GPs found that 47 million GP appointments in 2013 – one in six of all consultations – involved a wait of at least seven days to see a doctor or nurse.

In 2012, the figure was 40 million – suggesting a rise of 17 per cent, year on year. If the trend continues, projections suggest that next year 57 million GP appointments will involve a wait of a week or more.


When the GP’s all work for the government, such might be predictable.


Those waiting times are longer than in South Africa, or at least the province where I live.


Just for those who didn’t notice, OP’s topic has to do with conditions in Britain, not the U.S.


The 48-hour rule was scrapped in June 2010, as part of Coalition efforts to dismantle a “target culture” in the NHS. It was among many waiting targets which had become contentious because of concerns that seriously ill patients were having care delayed because trivial cases had to be seen just as quickly.

I think that really gets to the point. Here in the US, waiting a week to see my my doctor or dentist is not uncommon. Appointments fill up. Granted, flexible space is available for very urgent cases, but for routine appointments there is no reason someone has to be seen within a week. If someone who needed urgent attention was not getting it in a timely fashion, then the matter would be different.

Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard added: “When I get to the end of a day and I’ve had 100 telephone consultations and seen 30 patients face-to-face, I hope and I pray that nothing serious has been missed – either because of the relentless pressure or because someone who needed an appointment couldn’t get one.”
If her caseload is this heavy on a regular basis, or if this experience is common, I think that is the real story.


I used to see as many as 60-80 patients per day in the government sector. The telephone consultations can be dodgy though, and only work reasonably well with well informed/educated and stable patients.

For a private GP in SA (consultation fee $25 or free depending on insurance) one can see one the same day. For a state doctor (free), if one has an emergency one can see one same day, while for cold stuff it can sometimes be much longer, but often if they’re referred they’re seen the same day. In the State service here we often saw walk in patients with minor issues such as backache or eczema, the same day.
I think often enough the patient would wait about 10-20min to see me or a colleague, if it was close to the end of the day. These were un-referred patients. (I speak of South Africa here, not the UK).

closed #7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit