Thousands of patients in Hertfordshire and West Essex are being rushed through an appointment with their GP in less than 5 minutes, new research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
Daisy Cooper, MP for St Albans and health and social care spokesperson for the party, has blasted the “stark postcode lottery” facing people in the Hertfordshire and West Essex, with 89,092 GP appointments in April clocking in at under 5 minutes. The party has raised fears that many patients are not being seen for long enough by their doctor to be properly assessed.
The new figures show that 22.5% of GP appointments in Hertfordshire and West Essex in April lasted for under 5 minutes while just under half lasted for under 10 minutes.
Out of the 396,388 GP appointments in the area that month, a staggering 89,092 were under 5 minutes long and 107,121 came in at under 10 minutes.
NHS figures show that across England as a whole, around one in five (22%) of the 16.6 million GP appointments in April lasted five minutes or less. Only half of all appointments across the country lasted longer than 10 minutes.
Daisy said: “These figures expose a stark postcode lottery as GP services are stretched to breaking point. People in Hertfordshire and West Essex deserve better.
“The Conservatives promised to recruit more family doctors but they are nowhere to be seen in our area.
“Even once people manage to get an appointment, too often they are rushed through because doctors have to fit so many patients in.
"Doctors need to have time to properly assess their patients, especially those with conditions that are complex or getting worse whilst waiting for hospital treatment as part of the NHS backlog.
"Instead patients in Hertfordshire & West Essex are being treated like goods on a factory conveyor belt. It is completely unsustainable and the Government needs to get a grip."
Notes to Editor
A breakdown of the Liberal Democrat analysis by region and Clinical Commissioning Group is available here.
Original source: NHS Digital, Appointments in General Practice, April 2022
The Royal College of General Practice has previously called for the standard ten-minute GP consultation to be brought to an end, and for face-to-face appointments to be at least 15 minutes by 2030. However, the latest figures show that less than a third or 31.4% of GP appointments in April last 15 minutes or longer.