Increasing demand pushes GP surgeries to the brink

Doctors in the Anglia region have said general practice is close to crisis point, with ever increasing demand from patients.

The UK has one of the worst ratios of doctors to patients in Europe, and although the government say there are record numbers of GPs currently in training, patients are reporting frustrating delays.

The government today announced that social distancing will no longer be required in surgeries to help increase the number of face to face appointments.

In Luton, Graham Harvey, is a receptionist at Wheatfield Surgery. He told ITV Anglia that many patients are becoming frustrated by long waits.

ITV Anglia asked people on social media what kind of experiences they had with getting GP appointments recently and more than 600 got in touch. Many said they felt it was too hard to get a face to face appointment.

  • Watch David Whiteley and Becky Jago read some of the experience of ITV Anglia's viewers

The Wheatfield surgery has a ratio of one thousand nine hundred and 70 patients to every doctor - better than the national average.

But since Covid the pressure has been enormous.

Tracey has been practice manager here for two decades and says telephone appointments are here to stay.

Dr Alabi works shifts of 10 to 12 hours. She says telephone appointments are one of the only ways to cope with demand.

Dr Alabi Credit: ITV

As the system comes under strain staff have faced increased abuse here - particularly on reception.

The government say they are committed to increasing the number of training places available for GPs to 4,000 a year, and that the number of doctors accepting places to train as a GP is at an all time high.