A third or 32 per cent of those who tried to get in touch with their family doctor over the past month are facing a struggle to make contact, according to new ONS data.
Over 27 million people make calls to their general practitioner each month, with almost 8.8 million people having trouble getting regular medical consultations for themselves or their family members.
Around 86 per cent of respondents in the ONS study indicated that it is a significant issue impacting the United Kingdom, which suggests that these access issues contribute to broader worries about the state of the NHS.
Broadstone head of health & protection Brett Hill says: “Today’s data from the ONS demonstrates yet further evidence of the creaking state of the nation’s health service with millions of people every month facing difficulties getting an appointment with their GP.
“GP access is critical because it offers patients a quick way to diagnose and treat health issues before they worsen into longer-term illnesses that can threaten lives and livelihoods. If people are struggling to get appointments it means chronic illnesses could be left to fester ultimately driving longer-term health implications across the country.
“It is little surprise that we are seeing growing demand from employers for private medical options like digital GP services and regular health checks as an alternative to the 8am battle to get into the GP’s office. By doing so they can help employees quickly identify and address potential problems to keep them healthy and avoid the long-term absences which are driving economic inactivity sharply upwards.”