Residents in Peterborough have echoed national calls about the difficulties of getting to see a GP face to face.
But a local doctors’ leader has said his colleagues are working ‘tirelessly’ with more than half of patients in Peterborough able to see a GP in person for a same day appointment.
A number of residents contacted the Peterborough Telegraph to complain they have had to rely on telephone consultations with their GP surgeries to talk about their health concerns.
GP practices in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough take between 35,000 – 40,000 calls per day between them- over 1 million calls a month. This compares to around 1,250 calls a day to NHS 111 locally.
Carol Ormerod (73), has had trouble in gaining a diagnosis over the phone. She said: I’m all for fighting what we believe is our right and seeing a doctor. Doctors should be told to get back to the job they are being paid for, they’re not an exempt group who can stay away from this pandemic when it is their duty to help the sick.
“Telephone calls do not put people’s minds at ease; they need to see and talk to patients face to face.’’
In a similar experience, Nita Shaw, has been unable to use her registered surgery to see a doctor throughout the whole pandemic and has had to travel to a surgery further away.
She said: “While this may be ok for some people I find it absolutely outrageous for all the pensioners who are signed on with the surgery.”
MP Shailesh Vera, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, echoed his constituents’ concerns.
He said:“I fully appreciate the public’s frustration at the lack of face to face GP appointments. As many restrictions have now been lifted, based on medical and scientific advice, it is important to see that extending to other areas where possible, including surgeries.
“Telephone appointments may be fine in some cases but we should be moving to face to face appointments which are preferable in many instances.
“Surgeries opposed to face to face appointments may wish to consider the fact that other surgeries are having such personal appointments.
“We are in a different place to where we were during the lockdowns and that needs to be reflected in how we go about our daily lives.”
Peterborough and Cambridgeshire CCG said patients in Peterborough have been able to access same day face-to-face GP appointments throughout the pandemic. The total of patients registered in Peterborough in the last five years has risen by 9.3% going from 213,172 to 233,004.