Five and a half working weeks lost to patients not attending GP appointments, while registered patients per GP increase.

The average number of registered patients per GP at surgeries in the Folkestone & Hythe District currently stands at 1,705. The average for England is 2,087, NHS Digital data shows.

In Aug 2017 registered patients per GP at surgeries in the Folkestone & Hythe District stood at 1,640 according to NHS Digital data.

According to GP surgery websites in the district there are currently 68 GPs working in the Folkestone & Hythe District. This number does vary as locums do come and go.

NHS Digital data shows that in the last year patient numbers have increased by 790- see chart below.

Screenshot from 2019-09-03 00-12-28

Although a way off at present, a study from the Netherlands in 2013, which looked into if practice size was the key to quality of care, found that with each extra patient over 2,000 patients per GP, quality of care declined.

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.

The Shepwayvox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the powerful

About shepwayvox (878 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

2 Comments on Five and a half working weeks lost to patients not attending GP appointments, while registered patients per GP increase.

  1. Do these figures include people who stay in holiday caravans. I would think not as they would be registered at their permanent address. However there are a lot of older people who use their caravans as their main residence during the year and use the local surgeries as temporary patients putting even more strain on local resources on the Marsh.

  2. People who don’t attend without proof of a valid reason should be kicked out.
    My surgery are so busy they don’t even answer the phone now.
    I wish I could pay for a private same day appointment somewhere in Folkestone

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