Misery for the elderly as study suggests one in six GP practices now only take bookings online
- Campaigners warn Britons missing out on vital care as NHS is ‘erecting barriers’
The NHS is discriminating against elderly patients with one in six GP practices now taking bookings online only, a study suggests.
Campaigners warn Britons are missing out on vital care as the NHS is ‘erecting barriers’ that limit opportunities to see a family doctor face-to-face.
This is forcing people into private healthcare or overcrowded A&E departments and hits those without internet access hardest, over-60s group Silver Voices said.
Its poll of 1,200 members reveals 76 per cent have experienced difficulties in obtaining a face-to-face GP appointment.
Eighty per cent have been forced to accept a telephone consultation and 71 per cent begrudgingly saw another member of practice staff.
Campaigners warn Britons are missing out on vital care as the NHS is ‘erecting barriers’ that limit opportunities to see a family doctor face-to-face (Stock Image)
Meanwhile, 18 per cent have gone to A&E after failing to secure an urgent GP appointment and 31 per cent have resorted to private healthcare. One in six practices – 16 per cent – are now operating an internet-only request process for GP appointments, the survey suggests.
Only 24 per cent still accept walk-in requests for GP appointments. The NHS GP contract says patients must be able to request an appointment if they attend in-person or contact them by phone or online. But latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal one in ten callers are never able to get through.
Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, said: ‘The family doctor is becoming an elusive species with many hoops to be negotiated before an audience is finally granted to the patient.
‘So, it is natural that, in desperation, large numbers of older people are turning to private health care or A&E departments.’
An NHS spokesman said: ‘The NHS published a plan earlier this year to recover access to GP services, which includes upgrading telephone systems to make it easier for people to contact their general practice while more than 31,000 additional staff have joined GP teams since 2019 to deliver even more appointments.’
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