More than 360,000 appointments were ‘booked’ with GP surgeries in North Yorkshire and York in July, as COVID restrictions in the country came to an end.
NHS Digital data also shows 97 per cent of all appointments were kept by patients, with a majority of surgery appointments taking place ‘in person’.
Some 9,700 appointments in North Yorkshire and York were recorded as ‘did not attends’, with most of those face-to-face slots.
NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group Chair, Dr Charles Parker, said: “The data is telling us that GP practices in North Yorkshire and York are continuing to experience a sustained surge in demand for appointments, with July another busy month, but that is only part of the story.
“Like many businesses, GP surgeries have been hit hard by general sickness, COVID infection and staff having to isolate because they’ve been a contact of someone who’s tested positive for COVID.
“We’ve also had to carefully manage the availability of face-to-face appointments because of the limitations of continuing with COVID safety protocols like social distancing in waiting rooms, PPE and additional sanitising and cleaning between appointments.
“Given the pressure practices are under, I think it’s remarkable and a testament to the hard work of everyone in primary care that we’ve been able to deliver so many appointments for patients and it shows the value in having a blended mix of in-person, telephone and online appointments available.
“We want to thank patients for their understanding at this busy time. We appreciate it’s not always easy to get an appointment, but they can be assured we are working really hard to deliver the care they need.”
Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair of NHS Vale of York CCG, added: “Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to see patients face-to-face and will always see someone in person where there is a clinical need.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
The latest NHS Digital data shows there were more than 360,000 appointments booked with GP practices in the North Yorkshire and Vale of York CCG areas in July 2021.
Approximately half of all booked appointments in that month were with a doctor – 107,144 appointments were booked with a GP in the North Yorkshire CCG area and 66,949 appointments were with a GP in the NHS Vale of York CCG geography.
Around three fifths of the appointments in July were in-person with 133,973 face-to-face appointments booked with GPs and other practice staff in North Yorkshire and 83,722 face-to-face appointments with doctors and other GP practice staff in Vale of York.
And the data for July shows almost half of all booked appointments were either same day or next day, with more than 107,000 same day or next day appointments booked with GP surgeries in North Yorkshire in July and more than 69,000 same day or next day appointments booked with GP surgeries in Vale of York.