General Practice appointments: October 2021
General practice teams in Kent and Medway have carried out 897,815 appointments in October, according to the latest national NHS data released on Thursday, 25 November.
Appointments in practices and face-to-face home visits rose to 573,917 meaning that 68 per cent of all appointments were face-to-face. A further 323,898 phone and video appointments also took place.
The role of wider teams working alongside GPs was also clear in the statistics as 485,708 of all appointments were with other clinically trained staff, for example practice nurses, advanced nurse practitioners and pharmacists.
Dr Navin Kumta, Clinical Chair of Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "These latest figures show once again how hard General Practice teams are working. The October figures start to reflect the work being undertaken on the flu vaccination programme, which practice teams are delivering on top of the continuing Covid-19 vaccination and booster programmes as well as their usual appointments. We understand the difficulties and frustrations that patients are experiencing getting through on the phones but would ask for patience with our staff who are all working as hard as they can.”
“It is no surprise to me to see appointments increasing yet again. All the GPs and other clinicians based in practices I speak to are busier than ever before. It is disappointing to note that, alongside the rise in appointments there has been another corresponding increase in people not attending their appointments. Nearly 61,000 patients did not attend the appointment they had been given -meaning that nearly 61,000 other people weren’t able to fill those slots. We would ask again that people cancel appointments they do not need which can be done via the NHS App if you have access, rather than needing to phone.
Dr Gaurav Gupta, Chair of the Local Medical Comittee added: “Despite yet another increase in appointments our practice teams are still facing an unacceptable amount of abuse. All health partners across Kent and Medway have joined together to launch the ‘Not in a day’s work’ campaign and we would ask that people think about the comments they put on social media and how they treat our NHS staff who have now been working under intense pressure for nearly two years. Without these frontline staff, access to clinicians would be even more difficult. They are not only taking the brunt of patient frustration whilst at the surgery but are going home after a hard day’s work and having to read awful things online as well.
We can refuse treatment and take further action against those who continue to treat our staff badly, though of course, we do not want to do that. We do understand that the current pressures raise frustration levels, but we would also make a plea for everyone to recognise that general practice teams are working hard both to see patients and make improvements to ease the pressures."