New analysis published today by Labour shows that the equivalent of 7.5 million patients think their GP surgery opening hours are inconvenient.
The findings reveal that the percentage of people who find the hours inconvenient is generally higher for people living in the South East, East of England and London. Results include:
• In Slough, 26%
• Ealing 24%
• Harrow 23%
• Hounslow 22%
• Thurrock 21%
• Croydon 20%
• West Essex (including Harlow) 20%
• Herts Valleys (including Watford) 19%
• Milton Keynes 19%
Of these patients:
• 72% would like their surgery open on Saturdays – equivalent to 5.4 million patients nationally
• 70% in the evenings – equivalent to 5.2 million patients
• 34% before 8am – equivalent to 2.5 million patients
• 34% on Sundays - equivalent to 2.5 million patients
In addition, almost third of all patients - equivalent to 13.5 million – say they’d like to be able to book their appointments online, up from 26% in 2009/10. Yet only 3% are normally able to do so.
Liz Kendall MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said:
“Millions of people want to be able to book an appointment with a GP outside of normal working hours. It’s hard to take time off during work, and many people also have to commute or pick their children up after school.
“David Cameron promised he’d make it easier for patients to see a GP. But the number of patients who say their surgery opening hours are inconvenient is rising and fewer surgeries are now offering evening and weekend appointments.
“This Government removed the vital incentives Labour put in place to make surgery appointments more convenient. That’s wrong and must change.
“Ministers should also instruct NHS England to ensure all GP led Clinical Commissioning Groups act on patients’ concerns about getting an appointment and give this issue the priority it deserves.”<div>