One in five patients waits two weeks or more to see their GP in Kent & Medway.
Phoning you Doctor’s surgery to book an appointment often leads to frustration. The line is engaged, you are on hold for what seems like forever and when you finally get through there are no appointments available, or the next available appointment is in a fortnight or more.
Waiting times for a routine GP appointment in Kent & Medway shows a 0.3% increase according to the latest NHS Digitial data. This means 122,097 patients were waiting more than two weeks to obtain a GP appointment in Dec 2019.
Despite the best efforts of all Kent & Medway CCGs; and all 210 GP practices, the numbers of those waiting more than two weeks or more for a GP appointment in Kent or Medway continues to creep ever upwards.
In Dec 2018 there were 84,624 GP patients in Kent & Medway waiting more than two weeks to get a GP appointment. That is almost one in five patients (18.04%)
According to the latest NHS Digital data – Dec 2019, 122,097 GP patients in Kent & Medway were waiting more than two weeks to get a GP appointment. That is almost one in five patients (18.34%).
So there has been a a point 3 increase in patients waiting more than two weeks for a GP appointment in Kent & Medway.
In Dec 2018 there were 469,026 appointments available. In Dec 2019 that number rose to 665,693, or by 42%. But even with an increase in appointment therecame an increase in those waiting more than two weeks for a GP appointment. This is despite the fact that the number of GPs in Kent & Medway rose from 1,200 in Dec 2018 to 1,267 in Dec 2019.
The Dec 2019 data – shows there were 1,705,912 patients registered at 210 GP Practices in Kent & Medway compared to 1,901,114 in Dec 2018. So less registered patients, more doctors, more appointments has led to a 0.3% increase in those waiting more than two weeks for a GP appointment.
The data shows that across four CCG areas there was an increase (Red) in patients waiting to see their GP for two weeks or more in December 2019 when compared with the 2018 data.
Dartford, Gravesham & Swanley CCG saw the largest jump in waiting times for more than 14 days. In 2018, only 7.55% of patients (224) waited more than 14 days for a GP appointment. One year on and that percentage had increased to 18.02% or 10,563 patients waiting more than 14 days for an appointment.
The most significant decrease was seen in the Swale CCG where the number of patients waiting more than 14 days to see their GP fell from 22.97% or 8,957 to 19.75%. or 8,301.
South Kent Coast CCG – which covers the Folkestone & Hythe and Dover District areas – saw less than 1% decrease in patients waiting more than 14 days for a GP appointment. In Dec 2018, 38,494 appointments were available, of these 18.56% or 7,145 patients were waiting more than 14 days for an appointment. In 2019 however, the number of appointments more than doubled to 78,614, of these 17.71% or 13,923 patients were waiting more than 14 days for an appointment.
So across the Folkestone & Hythe area we called up some GP surgeries to see when we might be able to get an appointment.
As of yesterday, 4th March 2020, if one wanted an Non Urgent Appointment (NUA) with a GP at Sandgate Rd Surgery, Folkestone – which has the highest number of patients in the district 12,697 – one will have to wait until mid May for an appointment.
The Orchard Surgery in Lydd – earliest NUA with GP is 13th March
Oaklands Surgery, Hythe – earliest NUA with GP is 18th March
Sellindge Surgery – earliest NUA with GP is 20th March
Oak Hall, New Romney – earliest NUA with GP is 23rd March
Manor Clinic Folkestone – earliest NUA with GP is 26th March
Hawkinge & Elham Surgery – Hawkinge earliest NUA with GP is 1st April.
White House Surgery, Cheriton – no NUA available
Guildhall Street (Folkestone) is running at nearly a month for an NUA. They run a dual system of phoning and turning up at 8am. There are usually about a dozen people queuing up to go in every morning, as well as them very often not answering the phone at all. The last time i rang, it took 38 minutes to get through and I was allegedly “position 2 in the queue” for the whole of that time! They also have an “intelligent call queuing system” that will allegedly call you back when you get to the front of the queue. The one time I used it, when it rang me back, I was waiting for another 17 minutes for a reply. It’s horrendous. The receptionists are rude, the building is defunct, the doctors are all nearing retirement age, so I don’t know how long it will remain open. Yet we cannot change to another surgery, because none of them are taking patients, due to Park Surgery closing down.
As a GP, our practice has grown by close to 600 patients yoy. We tried to get the patient list closed due to safety issues but the CCG had other ideas. Myself and my colleagues are very stressed and close to burn out. What with the failure of the CCGs to recruit GPs to Kent we have to shoulder the burden of their growing failures.
Today we have a meeting about closing the surgery in the event of Coronavirus taking hold in Kent. One practice in Devon has already shutdown for 2 weeks and they have 20,000 patients.
Need to convert Mount Street old Aldi site in Hythe into a health centre