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Patients face 'two week wait for GP appointment'

A two-week wait for an appointment to see the family doctor may become commonplace, as GP services are "imploding", a health chief warned.

Read: GPs to vote on charging patients for appointments

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GP services are so overwhelmed, patients will face a two-week wait to see the doctor as standard, experts warned. Credit: PA

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, who chairs the British Medical Association's (BMA) general practitioners committee, warned patients would suffer because of rising demand on GP services and "disinvestment".

Instead, patients will have to wait a fortnight as standard before they can see a GP, he said.

Dr Nagpaul also warned of toll the "conveyor belt of care" took on GPs as they try to see as many patients as possible.

Speaking to the BMA's annual representative meeting in Harrogate, Dr Nagpaul said that in the last five years the number of patients seen by family doctors has increased by 40 million each year.

Read: PM confirms extension of GP hours for millions of patients

De-registered pensioner: 'It is a bit worrying'

A 95-year-old pensioner who was "de-registered" from her GPs because their services were overstretched said being shut out from her family doctor was a "bit worrying".

Lily Dove, 95, told Good Morning Britain she could remember when "the doctor used to come out and visit with a horse and trap" and said the Watton Medical Practice should have spoken to the services "before they got in this muddle".

Watton Medical Practice manager Mary Osborne said the decision to de-register Mrs Dove was "a matter of patient safety".

"We were informed by the local area team for NHS England that we could not be discriminatory and ask some residents to move and ask others to stay – that would have been unlawful.

"The decision was made on geographical area, where there is an alternative practice to cover a patient’s primary care."

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'De-registering patients' to be debated by doctors

Doctors at the British Medical Association (BMA) will debate the growing number of GPs de-registering their patients as they try to cope with dwindling staff numbers and stretched resources.

GPs
The NHS is facing a recruitment crisis with a lack of new, trained family doctors rising up the ranks. Credit: PA

The BMA has warned of a "critical shortage" in GPs after figures out last week revealed take-up of family doctor training is at its lowest level since 2007.

Figures from Health Education England show that overall there are 451 vacancies across the UK for GP trainees, with Liverpool suffering the biggest number of empty GP places.

Read: 15% of A&E admissions 'could be seen by GP'

Read: GPs to vote on charging patients for appointments

Children with minor illnesses presenting at A&E

Many of the 2.1 million patients who present to A&E with minor illnesses that could be treated by their GPs are young children, new research from the College of Emergency Medicine reveals.

Read: 15% of A&E admissions 'could be seen by GP'

Dr Clifford Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine said the research shows the need for "de-congesting" of emergency departments, but stressed the fact that the majority of people attending A&E need to be there:

The fact that only 15% of attendees at emergency departments could be safely redirected to a primary care clinician without the need for emergency department assessment is a statistic that must be heeded by those who wish to reconfigure services.

Providing a more appropriate resource for the 2.1 million patients represented by this figure would substantially de-congest emergency departments.

De-congesting emergency departments is key to relieving the unprecedented levels of pressure placed upon them and improving patient care.

More: GPs vote on charging patients for appointments

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One visit to GP 'costs £45'

A single 11.7 minute trip to the GP costs the NHS £45, according to Government data.

The 2013 Units Health and Social Care report from the Personal Social Services Research found:

  • It costs £27 for a 7.1 minute telephone consultation with a GP.
  • Home visits from a GP lasting 23.4 minutes are £114.
  • One prescription from your GP costs £41.35. This includes the cost of the drug too.
  • A 15 minute appointment with your nurse in a GP practice costs £13.

Read: GPs to vote on charging for appointments

GPs to vote on charging for appointments

GPs will vote on whether to start charging patients for appointments, which they say will take some of the burden off family doctors.

Read: Healthy people 'should get tax rebate'

NHS
Increasing numbers of elderly and obese patients have lead GPs to voice concerns over whether the NHS can remain free. Credit: PA

Missed appointments cost the NHS £160 million a year and many doctors feel it's unsustainable to continue offering free care.

Family doctor's have increasingly voiced concerns over strains put on GP services by the growing number of obese and elderly patients.

They will cast their vote at the British Medical Association Local Medical Committees (LMCs) Conference later this afternoon.

Read: 'More NHS patient charges' may be needed

Miliband offers 48-hour GP appointment guarantee

Ed Miliband has pledged that a future Labour government would give GP surgeries an extra £100m funding and make sure all patients can see a doctor within 48 hours.

Speaking in Manchester, Mr Miliband said it was a "scandal" that only 40% of NHS patients are seeing a GP within 48 hours, while one in four cannot get an appointment the same week they ask for one.

Ed Miliband said a Labour government would ensure all patients see their GP within 48 hours of seeking an appointment. Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive/

The Labour leader said the extra money would come from getting rid of the market-based NHS framework set up by the current government, along with cutting spending on consultants and senior managers.

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