NHS England struggling to balance budget3rd July 2014
A poll found that 24% of patients experienced difficulties when phoning up to book an appointment with their GP - a rise from 18% two years ago.
Of those that did get through, 11% were unable to get an appointment and a further 8% felt it was only at an inappropriate time.
Of those asked, when they did see their doctor or practice nurse, 86% said their overall experience was good. This is compared to 66% for those patients who received out-of-hours care.
These figures are according the Ipsos MORI poll for NHS England who studied 900,000 people.
The study was conducted after the British Medical Association (BMA) addressed the issue of patients facing longer waits to see their GPs.
BMA GP leader, Dr Chaand Nagpul, said waits of one or two weeks would "become the norm".
GPs are arguing that this problem is due to budget and resource restraints. The number of annual consultations performed by GPs has risen by 40m since 2008 (totalling 340m).
Figures from the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) show that their budgets have been cut by £400m in the last three years.
The Department of Health have acknowledged this issue and are launching a £50m Challenge Fund to extend opening hours and make greater use of technologies such as Skype and email.
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Title: NHS England struggling to balance budget
Author: Dan Boyle
Article Id: 25745
Date Added: 3rd Jul 2014