Patients across the district are finding it ‘increasingly difficult‘ to access the care they need, when they need it.
A local GP who did not want to be named said: ‘We recognise that patients are often waiting too long for appointments, and this is equally frustrating for GPs and their teams. If the ongoing crisis with recruitment of GPs continue, I only see things getting worse for patients, not better.“
GP recruitment for East Kent has not gone according to plan. This is concerning as some of the 68 GPs in our district are set to retire within the next 2 years.
In Aug 2017 there were 114,769 patients registered at GP surgeries across the Folkestone & Hythe District. In Aug 2019 this number stood at 115,915 an increase of 1,146 patients over 24 months. This is equivalent to 4.5 patients a week, every week being registered or transferred, at any one of the seventeen surgeries in the district. What these figures show is that the concerns about an influx of patients due to development or migration has not materialised.
The latest NHS Digital data available, shows that 1,690 patients failed to attend an appointment across our district, which is equivalent to 16,900 minutes, as the average GP appointment time is 10 minutes. Divide this by 60 and we get 281 hours which is equivalent to more than five and half working weeks lost to patients who were unable to get an appointment. With the average cost of an appointment at £30, these missed appointment have cost around £51,000 to surgeries in May 2019 alone. Should patients who fail to attend and fail to inform the surgery be fined a small sum commensurate with what they earn? Should we pay a returnable deposit as patient trying to get an appointment are being frustrated by those who do not turn up? We’ll leave you to mull that over.
To end on a positive note, in excess of 90% of patients locally have confidence in their GP; which is good to hear.
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