GP survey and new hospital performance data shows strain on staff and cycle of decline

Helen Buckingham responds to latest GP patient survey and new hospital waiting times figures.

Press release

Published: 11/07/2019

Responding to the GP survey and latest Combined Performance Summary, Helen Buckingham, Director of Strategy at the Nuffield Trust said:

“Our work shows that England is experiencing the first prolonged fall in GPs per person in fifty years, and today’s GP Patient Survey shows the relentless impact this is having on patients. Measures of how easy it is to get an appointment are sliding across the board: fewer than a third of people who hoped to be seen on the same day actually experienced this. For the first time, less than half of people who have a preferred GP say that they are actually able to make an appointment to see them.

“There is a glimmer of hope in the standard of care itself: despite these pressures, patients report GPs are still giving high quality consultations and have enough time to care.

“Today’s figures come as performance figures show that hospitals are increasingly under strain too, with the number of people waiting for planned care rising sharply to 4.4 million in May of this year. The GP survey shows that a tenth of people who don’t get the appointment they want turn to A&E instead. The strain on staff and space is spreading across the NHS and perpetuating a cycle of decline.”