IPPR analysis of the GP patient survey reveals that patients are finding it harder to get appointments and turning to A&E for basic care needs.
- In 2021, 31.5 per cent of patients who tried to get an appointment but didn't get one. In 2023 we see worsening access with 40.8 per cent of patients who tried to get one unable to do so.
- In response to this, many of these patients are turning to A&E to receive care. In 2021, 860,000 people went to A&E because they couldn't see a GP. In 2023 it was 2 million, 131 per cent more.
Responding to the latest stats on access to primary care and A&E usage, Dr Jamie O'Halloran, a senior research fellow on IPPR's Commission on Health and Prosperity said:
“The UK is getting sicker, poorer and more unequal. Primary care plays a vital role in healthcare provision and, at its best, is central to any aspiration to improve health and narrow inequalities. Yet, this new data shows that patients are finding it difficult to get GP appointments and are increasingly turning to already overstretched A&E departments to get care, particularly patients living in the most deprived parts of England.
“This will have significant health consequences, and in turn a hidden financial cost. The onset of sickness undermines both earned income and employment prospects. It is imperative that we get this right and we urge ministers to focus on patients access to care - not only to support health, but to help tackle major economic challenges around economic participation and productivity.”