5.8 million attendances at A and E in 2012-13 followed an inability to get a GP appointment.
That’s the finding of an Imperial College London research team.
There’s been a growing feeling that problems in getting a GP appointment are one direct cause of the growing crisis in A and E.
This is the first study to confirm that.
Researchers were rightly cautious – we need more data to assess the situation fully. But there is no doubt of the two major facts – that attendances at A and E, including unplanned attendances, have been rocketing, while GP services are, as Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, put it ‘in freefall’. The link between them was established by accounts of personal experience – of over one million patients in the GP Patient Survey.
Responding to the research, Andy said
“Under David Cameron, it has got harder and harder to get a GP appointment and that is forcing record numbers through the doors of A&E.
“When Cameron came to power, the vast majority of people could see a GP within 48 hours. Within days of taking office, he scrapped Labour’s guarantee of an appointment within 48 hours. Today, one in four can’t get an appointment in the same week. It is a mess of his making and is simply not good enough.
“Labour will stop the rot and invest £100 million, saved by scrapping Cameron’s market rules, to help patients get a GP appointment when they need one – either within 48 hours or a same-day consultation with a doctor or nurse.
“People can see how quickly the NHS is now heading downhill under this Government. GP services are in freefall and A&E departments are in the middle of their worst year in at least a decade. It is why people do not trust David Cameron with the NHS.”
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