Calls to scrutinise GP waiting times as St Helens patients can wait weeks for appointment

According to the latest NHS data, 70,653 appointments were made in GP surgeries in St Helens during April
According to the latest NHS data, 70,653 appointments were made in GP surgeries in St Helens during April
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Labour councillors have asked to scrutinise GP waiting times amid concerns some patients are waiting more than a month to see a doctor.


According to the latest NHS data, 70,653 appointments were made in GP surgeries in St Helens during April.

The data shows that while the vast majority of appointments took place on the same day, thousands of patients had to wait weeks to see a doctor.

In total, 32,904 appointments took place on the same day they were made, with 4,857 taking place the following day.

However, 7,826 took place within 22 to 28 days and 2,564 appointments took place more than 28 days after they were made.

Additionally, 11,839 took place within two to seven days, 8,671 within eight to 14 days and 5,798 within 15 to 21 days.

This week, Coun Bisi Osundeko told St Helens Council’s health and adult social care overview and scrutiny panel that residents can be regularly seen queuing outside GP surgeries early in the morning.

Coun Osundeko was one of several Labour councillors on the panel who requested it undertake a piece of work around GP waiting times as part of its work programme for the upcoming year.

Blackbrook councillor Alan Cunliffe said he has received reports of people waiting more than two weeks to see their GP.

And Coun Osundeko, who was recently elected to represent Parr in the local elections, said she knows of residents that have had to wait double that.

Coun Osundeko said: “Sometimes when you drive past the GP surgeries you can already see people queuing up in front as early as 7.30am, eight o’clock.

“And that’s not good, elderly people queuing up.

“Usually when you phone a GP you would have to wait for possibly, even over a month sometimes.

“And when you consider the fact that some of the things that you need to see a GP for, by the time it’s about four weeks, maybe your condition is even worse at that time.”

Moss Bank councillor Trisha Long also requested the panel scrutinise GP waiting times.

Coun Gill Neal, chairman of the panel, said all of the suggestions will be put forward to the overview and scrutiny commission next month.

A work programme will be developed from there, she said.