Almost one in five patients in South Tyneside are being forced to wait at least a week for an appointment at their doctors’ surgery, a health study has revealed.
GP standards were put under the microscope in a national survey carried out by NHS England in conjunction with pollsters Ipsos MORI.
The majority of residents say they are happy with the quality of service they receive when they are finally seen by a GP.
But the Patient Survey – which was conducted between January and March and July to September of last year – found that 17% of the 2,000 patients in South Tyneside who were questioned waited a week or more to be examined by a doctor.
The survey also revealed that patients are failing to embrace online health services – with just 6% using the internet to book appointments.
A total of 90% of patients felt their GP was very good or good at explaining treatments and tests, with 80% saying they were very good or good at involving them in decisions concerning their care.
The bulk of those surveyed (61%) said they usually waiting to be seen by a doctor for between five and 15 minutes.
A spokesman for NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are always keen to hear feedback from patients and we study the findings of the national GP survey in detail to help us plan for the future.
“We have a number of measures in place to improve access to GP appointments, including a scheme to offer extra appointments at busy times during winter. A number of practices are also testing out new approaches, such as a doctor triage system in which patients’ first contact over the phone is with a GP to ensure that they get the most appropriate service for their needs.”