A major new survey has shown that getting access to GPs is still an issue for many patients, although figures are improving slightly.
A study of 69,000 people in England between January and April by the Healthcare Commission found that 55% had difficulties some or all of the time getting through to their GP practice or health centre on the phone. This was down on the 57% saying the same thing in 2005, the last time the survey was carried out.
Of those surveyed, 41% wanting an appointment were seen on the same working day while 33% waited one or two days. A further 13% waited longer than two days but could have been seen earlier, and 13% waited longer than two days because no earlier appointment was available.
The survey also found that almost half of people seeking diet and exercise advice from their GP said they did not get it.
Of those that wanted health promotion advice, 43% did not get advice on diet and 44% did not get advice on exercise. However, most people got advice on alcohol and tobacco if they asked for it.