Have you had cause to contact your GP Practice recently?
How easy was it to speak to someone?
According to analysis of NHS Digital data by GPonline, the number of patients per GP in England rose from 2,205 in December 2021 to 2,221 in April this year, the data show - a rise of 1% in just four months.
They say that the change comes as numbers of full-time equivalent, fully qualified GPs in England continue to fall, while numbers of patients registered are rising.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said recently: “With over 18,200 more primary care staff already, we are on track to deliver 26,000 more by 2024, backed by record funding to help increase capacity and get patients the care they need more quickly.”
He went on to explain that over 1,400 more doctors were working in general practice in April compared to the same time in 2019, with a record-breaking number of GPs starting training last year as well.
So who do we believe?
It does seem to be getting harder to recruit doctors into general practice and several of our local GPs have left the practices recently, but it’s not all bad news.
According to the Oxford Mail, in Oxfordshire each GP has an average of 1,613 patients (much better than many parts of the country).
In Wantage, we are about on that average.
In January this year, Church Street Practice had 1,498 patients for each GP and Newbury Street had 1,637.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago when the plans for the expansion of the Health centre on Mably Way were approved, both GP practices are part of one Primary Care Network and have a number of additional staff who can help patients including pharmacists, physiotherapists, a care coordinator, social prescribers, and a paramedic.
The surgeries are using their reception teams to direct patients to the right people in the network and this may not always be a doctor.
The telephone system in Newbury Street Practice was upgraded last year and it’s now much easier to contact them by phone to get an appointment. They’ve also got a new online system.
To hear more about how to contact the practice, join their next Zoom Session at 8pm on June 21st.
The Zoom link should be advertised in social media soon and should be on the Practice website.