THOUSANDS of people in Hampshire have to wait more than a week to see their GP, while many are unable to get an appointment at all, new figures have revealed.
An official NHS report shows that 17 per cent of Southampton residents surveyed about waiting times had to wait seven days or more for an appointment.
Of the 4,159 people surveyed, 11 per cent were unable to get an appointment at all. And of the 3,456 people who were able to get an appointment in Southampton, 692 (17 per cent) said it took a week or longer to see their GP – slightly above the national average of 16 per cent.
Reasons included not being able to book a preferred day or not being able to see a preferred GP.
Overall 13 per cent of people in Southampton said they had either a poor or very poor experience of making an appointment with a GP.
Ten per cent of people said they would not recommend their surgery to friends or family, as opposed to 42 per cent who said they definitely would and 33 per cent who said they probably would.
Robbie Robinson, who lives in Bitterne Park and is chairman of the Southampton Pensioners’ Forum, said: “When I want to see a doctor I will have to wait anything from a week to 14 days.
“It’s become harder over the past three or four years, most of the surgeries are full up.
Solution “The solution I think is to open the surgeries up later in the night. I get a good service, but I do have to wait |my turn.”
A spokesman for NHS England (Wessex), which commissions GP services across Hampshire, said it recognised some people reported a “poorer experience” in getting appointments and said it was working to improve residents’ access to service.
The spokesman added: “We are greatly encouraged that local residents in Southampton, and Fareham and Gosport have reported positive scores of over 80 per cent for overall experience at their local GP practice, but more can be done.
“All practices offer patients the opportunity to take up urgent on the day appointments.
“Some patients may choose to wait longer to see the GP of their choice or secure an appointment time which is suitable for them and fits in with their own busy lives.
“We will be working with the CCGs, the practices and their patient participation groups to consider the results of the recent survey and identify the improvements which can be made.”