Another excellent article from Laura Donnelly following her previous work on increasing distances between GPs and their patients. This article demonstrates how apart from in some of the remotest places the days of the family doctor are numbered….

Most patients who want to see their own GP can no longer get an appointment with them, according to new figures suggesting the days of the family doctor are over. 

The statistics show record numbers of patients struggling to even get through on the telephone, and increasingly long waits for an appointment. 

For the first time, the majority of patients who wanted to see a particular doctor were unable to do so, the survey of more than 770,000 patients shows. 

The research comes amid mounting evidence of a wider NHS crisis, with waiting lists reaching an all-time high.  

Medics said the “worrying” situation was being fuelled by a dispute over pensions, with senior doctors increasingly refusing to work overtime, or opting for early retirement, to avoid high tax rates. 

The figures show that the proportion of patients finding it difficult to get through to make a GP appointment has risen by 65 per cent since 2012.  

In total, 31.7 per cent struggled to make contact, compared with 19.2 per cent seven year ago, the annual GP survey shows. 

More than half of those polled had a preferred GP.  

And of those just 48 per cent said they saw or spoke to them “always or almost always”, or “a lot of the time”. 

The figure is a fall from 50.2 per cent in 2018. It is also a steep drop from 65 per cent in 2012, although researchers said changes in the way the survey was carried out meant the figures were not directly comparable.

Rising numbers turned to A&E when their GP practices was closed the figures show.

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