“Millions” of patients being turned away by GPs

29 July 2014

“Millions” of patients being turned away by GPs

New data has revealed that tens of millions of people are currently being turned away from GP surgeries every year, with the patients being told to either treat their symptoms at home in order to recover or to go straight to A&E instead.

The data has been analysed by The Royal College of GPs and has been described as a “shocking indictment” of a failing NHS according to doctors’ leaders. In the data, details show that one in nine people who go to visit their GP are unable to get an appointment to even be seen to look at their symptoms; the total number of doctors who turned patients away this year has totalled at over 40 million.

London and Birmingham hardest hit

The Royal College of GPs data found that London and Birmingham populations are the worst affected, with one in seven being turned away. The disappointment is also felt by Merseyside, Manchester and West Yorkshire where 12% of the patients who go to see their GP are turned away.

Mistreatment.com has regularly reported on the strain that the current NHS has been under. This has resulted in a jump in the number of enquiries coming through to its specialist teams, whether it is regarding a complaint about service, failures at A&E or because initial symptoms where not taken seriously in the first instance and became far more complicated and resulted in further treatment-giving patients grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.

NHS under severe strain, say experts

Experts have said that the figures only prove how under strain the NHS currently is. They say the numbers reflect the pressure on GP surgeries for the high volumes of appointments with patients having to join long queues at emergency sessions, try going to A&E in the hope that they can be seen or worryingly stay at home and self-medicate in the hope that they improve. Worryingly, these pressures can sometimes lead to complications which could even be grounds for medical negligence if, for example, early signs of cancer and other fatal diseases are not identified early enough due to such missed appointments.

Figures to only worsen

The Royal College of GPs says the figures can only worsen over time, suggesting in their analysis that patients will be turned away 51 million times in 2015, rising to 58 million in 2016.

"The fact that patients in England will be unable to see their GP when they want to on more than 50 million occasions in 2015 is a truly shocking indictment of the crisis that is enveloping general practice," said a spokeswoman. 

What you can do

If you or a loved one is concerned about the treatment you are receiving, whether through a missed GP appointment or because you were not able to be seen when presenting symptoms, our specialist teams can guide you through the complaints process for free, letting you know what your patient rights are and the options available to you.