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‘Disgusting people can’t see GP’s – barely half of appointments face-to-face

Scores of ‘disgusted’ patients blasted the current state of GP appointments in Birmingham and Solihull after it was revealed that just over half are being conducted face-to-face.

Despite the lifting of Covid restrictions just 56 per cent of patients in the area were seen by their GP in person in August.

That compares to exactly the same rate during the winter lockdown in January 2021. While pre-pandemic, at least 88 per cent of appointments were carried out in person in February 2019.

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A number of people took to Facebook after BirminghamLive shared the latest NHS statistics.

Shu Ghoumrassi-Meah wrote: “They should have their wages cut for putting patients lives at risk…it’s disgusting that people cannot get to see a GP.”

Val Mason said: “They are putting more pressure on the hospitals. I think the government should do something about it. They’ve got more chance of getting Covid at the supermarket.”

Linda Greaves said: “We are told things are back to normal so why are doctors so different?”

Amanda Fitzgerald said: “Can never get through for an appointment and when you do its over the phone they need to open up now.”

Kate Mann wrote: “And still a recorded message when you call which basically tells you to sod off. I think we all forget that actually tax payers do pay for the NHS, it isn’t a ‘free’ service!”

Philip Cockman said: “I got told by a out of hours doctor on the phone to go to A&E last night not because it was an emergency just because he didn’t think he would no what’s wrong and didn’t think my GP would he determined this over the phone.”

Michelle Howard wrote: “Can see the practice nurse or have phone consultation with GP but that’s about it.”

Pharmacists will be given the right to write prescriptions under plans reportedly being considered by Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

Mr Javid last month vowed the Government will “do a lot more” to ensure GPs see more patients face-to-face following complaints from the public.

The proposals would see more prescriptions provided through pharmacies and hospitals for routine illnesses to allow doctors more time to see patients in person, according to The Sunday Times.

But Fiona Williams disagreed, writing: “Majority of consultations do not need face to face. If it’s needed after the initial consultation it’s booked. Covid is still about. GPs are leaving…. Telephone consultations have been happening before the pandemic.

“It’s easier. Most people do not need to see a doctor face to face.”

And Neil Williamson added: “It was the same BEFORE Covid!”

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, told ITV last month: “Huge numbers of GP appointments are being made every day, almost half on the same day they are booked, with a higher proportion being made in person in August than July and all in line with infection control measures to keep patients safe.

“This is against a backdrop of intense workload and workforce pressures in general practice.

“Remote consulting will not always be appropriate. This is why in-person appointments are being made – making up almost six in ten consultations in August – and have been throughout the pandemic when they’ve been necessary.

“Face-to-face consulting will always be an essential part of general practice and as we move out of the pandemic.

“We want to see a blended approach with decisions about how care is delivered being a joint one between GP practices and their patients.”

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