More than 3million patients are having to wait at least three weeks to see their GP, shock data reveals.

NHS statistics show 30.4million appointments took place in England last month.

But 3.2million were booked almost a month earlier — or one in every 10. 

It marks a rise of almost 400,000 appointments waiting over 22 days in just a month, illustrating the dire crisis which has seen disgruntled patients abandon NHS surgeries in favour of going private or visiting swamped A&E units instead.

Separate data today also found GP satisfaction in the UK last year dropped to its lowest level ever recorded. 

Campaigners have long warned the delays, fuelled by a shortage of GPs, puts patients at risk of having a serious illness diagnosed late or missed entirely. 

The figures, released today by NHS England, show almost half took place on the same day (44.6 per cent), up slightly on the previous month. 

Almost a third (30.7 per cent) had to wait more than a week. 

The data for England also found two thirds (65.4 per cent) of GP consultations were face to face. 

NHS figures, however, have long shown that GPs are under huge pressure and treating a record number of people. 

What does the latest GP appointment data show?

Appointments held: 30.4million

Attended: 90.4 per cent 

Seen by GP: 44.5 per cent

Seen by nurse: 19.9 per cent 

Face-to-face appointment: 65.4 per cent

Phone appointment: 25.9 per cent

Same day: 44.6 per cent

Up to one week wait: 24.6 per cent

One to two week wait: 12.6 per cent

Two to four weeks wait: 12.6 per cent

NHS England data for April

Family doctors, who earn six-figure salaries, on average, have reported cramming in up to 90 appointments per day, in a situation compared to a conveyor belt. 

The BMA recommends GPs should not deliver more than 25 appointments per day to ensure safe care. 

Latest NHS statistics show there were just over 27,600 fully-qualified full-time equivalent GPs working across England in April.

This is just under 2,000 fewer than the figure recorded in the same month in 2016. 

This is despite the population growing by around 2million over the same period. 

Dr Amanda Doyle, national director for primary care at NHS England today said: ‘Thanks to GPs and their hardworking teams, millions more appointments are being delivered every month compared to before the pandemic with plans in place to improve access even further.

‘Every GP practice is upgrading their telephone systems to make it easier for patients to contact their surgery, while patients can use the NHS app to order repeat prescriptions and view their test results without needing to contact their family doctor.

‘We know there is more to do to make it easier for patients to access GP services and that’s why, building on the successes so far of the primary care access recovery plan, we continue to expand pharmacy services and offer patients more choice in how they access care.’

But figures released today also show GP patient satisfaction has plunged to its lowest level on record in the wake of the pandemic. 

The stats, collated by the Office for National Statistics, shows the percentage of respondents reporting positive overall experience of general practices was in ‘statistically significant decline’. 

In 2022, the latest comparable year for England, Scotland and Wales, the proportion of patients reporting a positive overall experience was highest in Wales (86 per cent).

It was followed by England (72 per cent) and Scotland, which logged a figure of just over two thirds (67 per cent).   

More people in Scotland, however found it ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’ (50 per cent) to contact their GP practice, than in England (43 per cent) and Wales (39 per cent).

Patients have continually expressed their frustration over access, particularly with regards to in-person appointments. 

GPs say they overwhelmed due to the pressures of the rising and ageing population, a lack of government funding and a shortage of doctors. 

Family doctors have also warned strikes could still be ‘on the table’ after a referendum of family doctors, carried out by the British Medical Association, found 99 per cent of the 19,000 respondents rejected the new NHS contract. 

Ministers have also silently binned a promise to hire 6,000 more GPs, which was a major part of Boris Johnson’s election-winning manifesto. Just 2,000 more family doctors have been recruited since 2019. 

GP surgeries have also faced rising levels of harassment, assaults and verbal abuse targeted at staff in recent months. 

More than 7,000 GPs are needed in the next 12 years  

There were 27,606 fully qualified, full-time equivalent GPs working in England in April, equating to one GP for over 2,000 patients, on average.

However, a ratio of 1,800 patients per GP is widely recognised by industry bodies as the ‘safe limit’.

As it stands, more than 4,000 GPs would need to be recruited to meet this ratio, MailOnline analysis suggests.

However, the ONS projects there will be an extra 6.6million people living in the UK as of 2036.

Assuming this growth kept in line with current demographic trends, this would see England’s population hit 62.2million.

Under this figure, 34,536 GPs would have to be working in the NHS to meet the one per 1,800 patient ratio, meaning an additional 7,076 family doctor positions are required over the next 12 years.

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