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Concerns raised about patient access to GP appointments

By Lauren Muir

Published In: Clinical Negligence

NHS to recruit more than 1,000 GP assistants.

As we head into winter, there are growing concerns regarding the lack of GP appointments available to patients across the nation. The current system means patients have to join the ‘8am’ scramble to book an appointment to see their GP and as a result of such demand, it is reported GPs have been unable to deal with their workloads due to such high demand.

GP waiting room

Further concerns have been raised regarding the high number of locum GPs recruited by surgeries and extremely lengthy hold times for patients who are then told there are no appointments left for the day.

It is reported that the NHS are planning to recruit more than 1,000 GP assistants in an attempt to tackle the significant backlog of patient appointments and to allow GPs more time to treat patients. It is said, GP assistants will carry out administrative tasks and basic health checks usually performed by GPs including obtaining a brief medical history before patients are seen by a GP. It is estimated that the recruitment of GP assistants will reduce the time doctors spend on correspondence by up to 85%. 

The government claimed that up to one million extra GP appointments will be created every year with the help of additional primary care resource, recruiting GP assistants and nurse practitioners to help alleviate doctors’ workloads and make more appointments for patients.    

However, Dr Richard Van Mellaerts, of the British Medical Association (BMA) has called for the government and NHS to be “honest” with the public and said that “such announcements are unlikely to free up GPs in the short-term, and certainly not this winter.”  He added: “The GP assistant is primarily an administrative role and while this has the potential to tackle some administrative burden it will not, on its own, make up for the severe shortage of doctors and other clinical staff who care for patients.”

Sadly, delays in getting a GP appointment can often lead to tragic consequences. We represent many clients who have suffered a significant, life altering medical condition as a result of not being able to see their GP in a timely manner, including those who have been turned away. We encourage anyone who has been affected by lack of access to their GP to contact us so we can begin to support you. Call 0800 138 0458 or email

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Lauren joined Switalskis in 2021 and completed her training contract in January 2023. She is a Solicitor in the Medical Negligence team.


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