Major variation found between CCGs in waits for GP appointments

Seven out of 10 GP appointments in England are delivered within a week of booking – but data shows that huge variation exists between CCGs in waits for appointments

This is an edited version of an article first published in GPonline.

Across England as a whole, 68.7% of GP appointments in August 2019 – the latest month for which figures are available – were delivered within seven days or less of booking.

But the proportion of appointments delivered within a week or less varies significantly between CCGs – from 81.7% of appointments in City and Hackney CCG in London, to just 53.9% in Swindon CCG, analysis by GPonline reveals.

Figures on appointments delivered by GP practices published by NHS Digital do not differentiate between long waits for appointments and appointments deliberately booked in advance, which could affect the reliability of the data as a measure of average waits.

However, figures on the GP:patient ratio in CCGs suggest that ability to deliver appointments faster is linked to staffing.

In Swindon CCG, which delivers the lowest proportion of appointments within a week, there are 2,508 patients per FTE, fully-qualified GP. Only 16 CCGs in England have a smaller workforce per patient.

In City and Hackney CCG, however, which delivers a higher proportion of its appointments within a week than any other CCG, there are 1,691 patients per FTE, fully-qualified GP. Only six CCGs have more GPs per patient than City and Hackney.

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