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Millions NHS appointment woes and some can't afford phone call

June 16, 2024
Millions NHS appointment woes

About 50% of adults over 50 worry about how hard it is to get in touch with their general practitioner.

According to Age UK, a foundation that released the results, that works out to 12.6 million people. Concerns over access to emergency treatment and hospital appointments are also shared by older adults.

Due to phone costs, a stroke patient claimed he could not afford to wait on hold at his general practitioner's office. "I cannot afford to stay on the phone," stated David, who chose not to reveal his last name. Expenses are continually rising. We wish we could do more, the staff has expressed to me on multiple occasions, therefore I feel bad for them. I do have difficulties.

“I’m not alone, there are countless others in the same situation.” Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Sadly, for some older people, healthcare delayed means healthcare denied, because they do not have time on their side. Our new analysis highlights just how many are being subjected to distress and, in some cases, enduring pain, because of their difficulties in accessing the GP services they need.” Age UK is calling for more investment in primary care, GP practices and community services.

An NHS spokeswoman said: “While eight out of 10 older people report a positive overall experience of their practice, the NHS is upgrading telephone systems to further improve experience and ensure GPs continue delivering record numbers of appointments.

“The NHS Long Workforce Plan commits to increasing GP training places by 50% to help provide further continuity of care, including for older people or those with complex needs.”

The poll questioned 2,621 adults over the age of 50, alongside an online survey of 17,000 people.