In the National Survey of Wales, around 10,000 people gave their views on GP appointments in 2016-17:
Many of these services carry out local surveys of patient experience but we were not able to find a collated picture of the results at an all Wales level.
The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales [opens in new window] and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales [opens in new window] have highlighted concerns about GP appointment systems…
Booking appointment impossible. Frustrating not being able to see same Dr, especially with ongoing medical condition.
Appointment times not long enough. Feel rushed out of the door each time, so not all problems discussed.
Appointments – can get one for the day but getting a routine appointment ahead is difficult.
GP data shows a gradual trend [PDF opens in new window] in increasing opening times and availability of appointments during normal opening hours (8am to 6.30pm), although weekend appointments remain rare. Weekend and evening appointments (after 6.30pm) are not part of the General Medical Services contract but where there is a specific need, health boards can fund them as part of an Extended Opening Hours Directed Enhanced Service. See more data on GP practice appointments and opening times here [opens in new window].
When GP surgeries close, patients with urgent healthcare needs will need to contact their local GP out-of-hours service. Having effective out-of-hours services is an important part of the NHS’s ability to respond to urgent care demand. The Auditor for General for Wales will publish a detailed report on GP out-of-hours later in 2018.
Services work slightly differently in different areas. Here's a typical way in which they work.
people contact GP
out-of-hours every year
People call their GP surgery's number,
the GP out-of-hours service's direct number,
in some areas people can now call 111.
A welcome message signposts patients to alternative services.
Hold the line to speak to the GP
The call is answered by a trained call handler. They ask what the problem is.
A doctor, nurse or paramedic calls the patient back.
Some patients are advised to self-care, others are visited at home or come to a primary care centre to be seen.