MORE than a third of GP appointments took place more than two weeks after they had been booked at a number of Barnsley surgeries, new figures have revealed.
The data from NHS Digital shows a total of 143,390 appointments took place at GP practices in the former Barnsley CCG area in October.
The CCG is now under the name of South Yorkshire’s Integrated Care Board.
At least 35,184 of those appointments, around 25 per cent, had taken place more than a fortnight after being booked - and 10,964 of those saw patients waiting longer than a month.
However, there are a number of practices which saw more than a third of its patients waiting longer than two weeks.
Lundwood Medical Centre saw 39.7 per cent of its 1,113 appointments taking place more than 14 days later, whilst Huddersfield Road Surgery, Woodland Drive Medical Centre, Brierley Medical Centre and Highgate Surgery also produced similar numbers.
At the other end of the scale, The Rose Tree PMS Practice in Cudworth only had 5.6 per cent of its 3,629 appointments waiting a fortnight or longer.
Similar levels were also seen at Burleigh Medical Centre, Darton Health Centre, The Kakoty Practice and Grimethorpe Surgery.
NHS Digital cautioned that GP workloads can be affected by several factors such as the demographic of patients registered at the practice, how deprived the area is and the number of care homes the practice offers services to.
The government said the new data will help patients ‘make a more informed choice about the practice they choose to visit’.
But the move has not been welcomed by the Royal College of GPs, who criticised the lack of context around how different practices operate.
They said the government should address the root cause of GP pressures - including recruitment and retention of doctors - ‘instead of lumbering a struggling service with new expectations’.
Chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne said: “A record 36.1 million consultations were delivered in October, almost 40 per cent of these on the day they were booked and more than 71 per cent delivered in-person, the highest proportion since before the pandemic.
“GP teams are just as frustrated as patients when they don’t have the resources and time to deliver the high standard of care to patients they want to, and in some areas where the pressures are even greater, this is happening more.”
This week, the government set out plans to overhaul NHS pension rules in an attempt to retain more senior doctors in the service.
Launching an eight-week consultation, ministers said the proposed changes would also remove barriers to retired clinicians returning to work - including new ‘flexibilities’ to allow retired and partially retired staff to return to work or increase their working hours without having payments to their pension reduced or suspended.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the proposed changes ‘will help open up extra appointments so patients can see their GP and consultants more quickly’.