Many patients are finding it difficult to see their general practitioners (GPs) and hence are heading to A&E departments, according to an article published in The Times at the weekend (April 17).
The article shared data released by NHS England which showed that there were 1.7 million visits to emergency departments in March which went up from 1.3 million in February.
Sir Robert Francis, chairman of Healthwatch England, was quoted as saying: “People will go to A&E if there is nowhere else to go, and their condition may deteriorate leading to an increased treatment and care because they couldn’t get help sooner.”
While GPs claimed that they are conducting more consultations than ever, the charity said communication issues meant people did not know how to access them. Sir Robert now wants NHS England to undertake a review of access to GPs.
When the A&E performance statistics were released this week, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine warned that without action there could be an “unconscionable” return to the days of patients being cared for in corridors of crowded departments.