Commenting on the British Social Attitudes survey of public attitudes to emergency care, Beccy Baird, Senior Fellow at the King’s Fund, said:
‘These figures make clear the real impact of overstretched health and care services. A chronic shortage of GPs and increasingly complex workloads have left patients finding it more and more difficult to book an appointment with their GP. We know that once people can get into their local surgery their experience is overwhelmingly positive but getting through the door is the problem.
‘People living in deprived communities often have the most complex health needs, yet those same people find it hardest to access their GP. Digital tools can help improve access to NHS services for some groups, but many of the people who rely most on health and care services require face-to-face support or simply can’t get online to make use of digital services. Nearly 3 in 10 people aged 65+ responding to the BSA Survey reported not having internet access, so while digital technology offers many opportunities, it is clearly no panacea.
‘The recent funding boost for general practice and creation of new primary care networks offers hope for tackling these issues, but only if GPs are supported to prioritise improving access and maintaining continuity of care.’