1. ITV Report

Is scrapping advanced appointments the answer to cutting GP waiting times?

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It's often a common complaint amongst patients in the West Country that waiting times to see a doctor have been getting longer.

Some practices have scrapped future bookings altogether, meaning people have to phone in to get a same day appointment.

Waiting times at the Frome Medical Practice were four to five weeks…and they were getting longer.

Finding it hard to deal with those times - the practice got rid of advance bookings and started a fresh system.

This new system is about people waiting at home and not having to come in and sit in a waiting room where they’re surrounded by other people with infections and coughs and colds. It means they can sit at home, wait and get the advice they need over the phone and then come in if they need to after that discussion with a GP.

– Dr Robert Taylor, Frome Medical Practice

People ring up on the day that they want to speak to a doctor or a nurse, and if it's felt the person needs to be seen face-to-face then they get an appointment.

The surgery says that many of the patients they have spoken to are happy with the system.

But others say the new system is causing problems and can result in a very long wait on the phone.

You really can’t get an appointment now. Now you have to be on the phone first thing in the morning. If you can’t get an appointment there and then you have to start all over again the next day.

– Evelyn Withey, Patient