Delays talking to Northamptonshire GPs top survey complaint list


Long delays waiting to talk to GPs in Northamptonshire topped a list of complaints discovered in a recent survey by a health watchdog.

Healthwatch Northamptonshire said the survey, of 1,153 people showed a range of complaints about access to appointments being hindered.

The watchdog also hosted several roadshows and, along a significant amount of praise, heard a variety of issues from patients.

They included the assumption that all patients can book using the internet, long delays in being connected to reception and complaints that people had waited 30 minutes on hold on the telephone before being disconnected.

The watchdog added: “ The cost of calls to make an appointment is charged at premium rate in a lot of surgeries.

“Often no same day appointments are available.

“And receptionists can sometimes be a barrier to receiving required information.”

As a result, it said: “People are going to A&E when they can’t get an appointment within a reasonable timescale.”

NHS bosses have repeatedly identified poor access to GPs as a reason for overcrowded A&Es.

Healthwatch said it would share the report with health and social care bodies and “talk to them about the improvements required in local services”.

It also intends to repeat the survey every year so it can monitor whether improvements are being carried out.