GP Waiting Times Put Hospital Under Pressure

A Leeds Healthcare Watchdog Has Revealed That Too Many Patients Are Going Straight To A&E


New statistics have shown that a lack of resources in GPs' surgeries are putting the emergency departments in hospitals under unnecessary pressure.

A survey has revealed that patients in Leeds are heading straight to their nearest A&E department with problems that could be treated by a family doctor because of concerns about how long they have to wait  for appointments at surgeries.

The research has been carried out by Healthwatch Leeds - an organisation that acquires medical data in the city - in an effort to convince officials that GPs are suffering from a lack of resources, meaning patients have to wait longer than they are used to in order to secure a consultation.

Results indicated that around 40 per cent of those questioned had gone straight to A&E at either Leeds General Infirmary or St James's with what could be classed as a minor problem.

Healthwatch Leeds Director Tanya Matilainen explained that the results draw to light problems with the healthcare system that are continually arising.

She said: "We were surprised about how many it was, but not that surprised because we knew that access to GPs was an issue.

"The main message for us was how difficult people said it was to get an appointment."

She went on to say that urgent action is needed to prevent these problems from escalating further. Ms Matilainen added that she knew of patients that had learnt they would have to wait two weeks for an appointment from their previous attempts and this was why they had gone straight to the emergency department without checking.

The research involved representatives from the organisation approaching 1,000 patients in the emergency departments at both of the Leeds hospitals. They found that around half had been to a GP before heading to A&E.

As a result, the watchdog has claimed more needs to be done to make it clear to patients that there are alternatives to the emergency department.

If you've experienced negligent treatment due to rushed or over-worked GPs you might be entitled to compensation. Visit our GP Negligence Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The amount of people seeking medical attention at their local A&E department because they are unable to get an appointment with their GP is worrying high and steps need to be taken to ensure the healthcare system functions in a manner which always puts patient safety first.

“Unfortunately injury and illness don’t always happen at convenient times and all of those involved in healthcare need to ensure they are best prepared to deal with calls and enquiries at all times. Many serious conditions if detected in the early stages are treatable and it is vital that the services are available for patients to access this level of care.

“Patient health and wellbeing must remain at the number one priority for all medical professionals across the NHS and each facility should be adequately equipped and staffed to support the number of patients seeking help and advice.”
Rachelle Mahapatra, Partner