Patients in North Yorkshire and York booked more than 392,000 appointments with their GP practice in September 2021 – almost 10% more than in the same month in 2019.
In North Yorkshire there were 24,000 more scheduled appointments compared to September 2019 and in the Vale of York area there were almost 10,000 more appointments booked than in the same month two years ago.
The NHS Digital data shows 361,432 of all September 2021 appointments in both areas were kept by patients, with more than 225,000 appointments taking place ‘in person’.
NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group Chair, Dr Charles Parker, said: “In September of this year, practices in York and North Yorkshire delivered around 34,000 more appointments than in September 2019, with patients able to access a wide range of health professionals in person, over the phone and online.
“While the number of face-to-face appointments available is limited because of the COVID infection and prevention measures which remain in place in healthcare settings to protect staff and patients who may be vulnerable, it’s worth noting that around two thirds of appointments in North Yorkshire and York practices in September were in-person.
“This blended mix of appointments is helping practices meet demand, though we acknowledge some patients prefer to be seen in-person, even if the issue is something than can be dealt with over the phone.”
NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group Chair, Dr Nigel Wells, said: “Practices across York and North Yorkshire are working hard to give as many appointments to patients as possible and these latest figures show how we are continuing to deliver care whist handling the added pressure coronavirus has brought.
“Seeing patients face-to-face continues to be important when there is a clinical need and as we enter into the peak of our winter months, we strongly encourage that if you have been contacted by your GP surgery inviting you for a coronavirus or flu vaccination, you make an appointment. Equally if you have a health concern, do come forward and your local GP surgery will do its best to give you the very best care and support.”
Data also revealed that some 12,000 appointments in North Yorkshire and York were recorded as ‘did not attends’, with most of those face-to-face slots.
Dr Wells also reminds patients that: “With such high levels of demand, it’s important that no appointments are wasted. While it’s heartening to see the vast majority of appointments are attended, if you’re in a position where you’ve made an appointment with your GP practice, but no longer need it or you’re unable to make it, it would be much appreciated if you could get in touch with your practice to cancel that appointment so it can be given to another patient.”
Whilst contacting your GP practice with a health concern is important, some illnesses can be treated at home with medicines already in your home or available without a prescription.
Dr Wells adds: “If you have a minor ailment, you may also want to consider visiting your local pharmacy – they can give you expert help and advice and effective over-the-counter remedies for a wide range of short-term conditions.
“NHS 111 – online, via the NHS App or over-the-phone – is also there for you if you have a medical problem but you’re not sure where to go.”