Stephanie's letter to the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid regarding the difficulty of securing an in person GP appointment

Too many people are struggling to get an appointment with their GP.

I’ve written to the Health Secretary calling on the Government to take action.

Full letter:

15th November 2021

Dear Secretary of State,

I am writing with regard to the difficulty many of my constituents face in securing in-person GP appointments.

Whilst the local Clinical Commissioning Group state that surgeries are offering in-person appointments, a considerable number of residents have been unable to secure such appointments, despite calling from opening hours each morning.

When residents eventually get through to their surgeries, they are likely to be told that:
A scheduled in-person appointment is not possible, with only over-the-phone triage available.
All appointments have gone. Residents are then prompted to phone back the following morning, call 111, or phone i-heart at 4 pm.

Whilst for some patients, a phone appointment may be appropriate, many do require a face-to-face appointment.

One of my constituents attempted to call his surgery 38 times in one morning but was unable to get through. Due to this, he visited the surgery where the receptionist informed him that he could not book an appointment in person and needed to phone again the following day.

This constituent has been on a waiting list for 12 months to have a minor medical procedure. Being aware of the pressure on services, he decided to seek private treatment where there is no waiting list and treatment is available within a couple of days. However, prior to receiving this private treatment, he requires a letter from his GP. Due to the inaccessibility of his practice, he was unable to receive even this.

This case is sadly not a one-off.

In response to one of my letters raising residents’ concerns, Barnsley CCG recently stated, that ‘currently there is a huge gap between the unprecedented levels of demand for GP services and available capacity in GP practices both in Barnsley and nationally.’

Can you please inform me what steps the Government will be taking and what funding the Government will be providing, to ensure that surgeries have the capacity to support their patients and make sure that my constituents – and people across the country – are able to access physical appointments when they need them?

Thank you in advance for your assistance and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Peacock MP

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