- Average GP is now working a three-day week after a drop in working hours
- GP did just 6.6 half-day sessions a week in 2019, lowest on record
- Official data shows that more than half of GPs are better served in the worst-hit parts of the country
- The average number of people per GP has increased by five percent to 2,038 in the past six years
- High population growth and dwindling number of gram panchayats behind huge inequality
After a shocking drop in working hours, the average GP is now working a three-day week, as official figures show the average number of doctors per family has risen 5 percent to 2,038 over the past six years.
Research by the Department of Health shows GPs did just 6.6 half-day sessions a week – the equivalent of just three days – in 2019, the lowest on record. In 2010, it was 7.5 seasons.
Data seen by the Daily Telegraph also shows a decline in the proportion of time spent on ‘direct patient care’, with just 59 per cent of GPs’ time being spent this way in 2019 – down from 63.1 per cent in 2010.
The newspaper reported that the National GP Worklife Survey of 1,332 GPs conducted by the University of Manchester shows that the average number of weekly hours has ‘significantly decreased’ between 2017 and 2019.
And rising earnings saw the average GP pay before tax and expenses top £100,000 in 2019-20, NHS figures show – amid growing concern about difficulties in obtaining face-to-face appointments with a GP.
Before the Covid pandemic, doctors’ surgeries accounted for about 80 per cent of consultations – but in August this year the figure was just 57.7 per cent. However, patients are facing a ‘postcode lottery’, with more than half of the best GPs in the worst-affected areas of the country. The NHS is grappling with a growing backlog, with the government admitting that record waiting lists for hospital treatment will get worse before they get better and could reach a massive 13 million.
The shocking figures will put renewed pressure on ministers to tackle face-to-face appointments and poor access to treatment, as a series of deaths suggest cancer and other serious illnesses are being missed because there are now too many consultation calls or Made by video. .
Dennis Reid, director of the campaign group Silver Voices over 60, told the Telegraph: ‘The situation is really worrying. It is hardly surprising that we are facing a national crisis in terms of face-to-face access to GPs, when the average doctor is only working a three-day week.
Patients are facing a postcode lottery, with more than half serving GPs in the country’s worst-affected areas as the population grows and doctors’ shortages are blamed for the disparity.
The number of face-to-face GP appointments dropped dramatically at the start of the pandemic, as virtual appointments were encouraged in an effort to keep social mixing low and hospitals virus-free. In-person appointments began to increase last summer, before dropping again during the second wave. Despite being on the rise, figures are still far below pre-pandemic levels
The graph shows: The number of people waiting to see a cancer doctor in the UK increased from 5,000 at the start of the pandemic to nearly 30,000 in June this year.
Lung cancer and mental health problem diagnoses ‘still virtual’
People with lung cancer and mental health problems are still not receiving an in-person diagnosis.
The Mail is campaigning for more face-to-face GP consultations, but there is also evidence from across the country that some patients are still unable to see hospital counselors and mental health specialists in person.
In one case a man was told in a call that he had one year to live, Wakefield Council’s health screening committee in West Yorkshire was told. He has since received an apology.
Another patient was told from afar that she had lung cancer and a woman had been misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s over the phone.
Meanwhile in Wales a mother of Bridgend, who attempted suicide and was sectioned in 2019, has not had a face-to-face appointment in 18 months.
Amy, 29, told the BBC: ‘All my treatment has been on the phone with only one GP.’
A spokeswoman for the Welsh government said it was investing £42 million this year to improve mental health and wellbeing.
‘It worries me that when we spend all this money and time training doctors they are able to work part-time, and for many of them that means using that time to work in private practice. to do or to do local work.’
The GP data comes from an analysis by House of Commons library staff for the Liberal Democrats.
Mr Reid added: ‘Perhaps one of the main reasons these figures have been disclosed is such a postcode lottery on face-to-face appointments.’ He called on the health department to review GP contracts to ensure that doctors are working for adequate hours and in all areas of the country.
“It should not be left to chance only whether you live in an area with good coverage or not,” he said.
‘There has to be some sort of incentive that encourages GPs to go where there is little coverage, and encourage others to come out of retirement.’
The average number of doctors per family has increased 5 percent to 2,038 over the past six years, but in some areas The figure is around 3,000 – in contrast to the best-served districts, where there are just 1,600 patients per GP. High population growth and a shrinking health workforce are behind the huge disparities.
The number of family doctors, excluding trainees, fell 1 percent from 28,115 in September 2015 to 27,752 this June. At the same time, the population of England has increased by 3.2 percent.
Fylde and Wyre, Lancashire, have 2,833 patients per GP, the highest proportion in the whole of England.
The next most dispersed area is Hull with 2,761 people per family doctor. There’s a 36 percent increase in five years…