GPs 'incredibly' stretched as patients wait weeks for appointments
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A third of people in Norwich are completely ignoring their illnesses or going private, as they try in vain to secure a GP appointment.
New data released by law firm Boyes Turner shows just how stretched the NHS currently is.
In Norwich in the last six months figures revealed that one in 20 people went to A&E because they couldn't get in at their doctors.
One in four people said they had to badger their GPs before getting an appointment or started self-medicating.
And one in ten people ditched the doctors entirely and explored alternative treatments.
Across the country more than two-thirds of people had to wait twice as long to see their doctor than they were pre-pandemic.
NHS digital data, along with a survey of 1,000 patients, shows that currently the average national wait for an appointment is seven days. In Norwich it's 7.4 days.
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A spokeswoman for the Norfolk and Waveney's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said GPs were "actually giving more appointments than ever", all while delivering thousands of Covid and flu jabs.
She said: "GP practices are incredibly busy right now. But they are open, and the number of appointments available have increased to help patients get treated sooner.
"As Covid cases are rising, where possible digital and telephone triages are taking place.
"We understand it is frustrating to wait on the phone, but we urge people to continue to be kind and patient to staff. They work incredibly hard."
But Anne-Marie Campling, a 41-year-old from West Earlham who has a recurring issue with her shoulder, said she was told it would be seven weeks before she could bag an appointment.
Before the date of her call came around, she had contacted a private chiropractor for laser treatment and was back to normal.
She explained: "I thought someone would have been able to call and give me some advice, but I just got a straight no."
Social worker Alison Bushell, 59, also had to go private when she was told it would be months before she could be referred to an audiology hospital department.
She was told her surgery no longer offered ear syringing due to Covid pressures.
Ms Bushell, who lives in Magdalen Street, said: "I was basically deaf in one ear."