Sheffield man has 'given up' trying to get a face to face appointment with his GP

A Sheffield man has told how he struggled to get face-to-face appointments with his GP and his surgery has halted online consultations due to ‘unsustainable demand.’

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 4:55 pm
GPs in Sheffield are now seeing 60 per cent of patients face to face. It was 80 per cent in January 2020

New NHS figures have shown that 60.74 per cent of patients in Sheffield saw their GP face to face in August this year, an increase of three per cent since January.

But before the pandemic, 82 per cent of city patients saw their GP face to face.

Gary Jenkinson-Graham, aged 65 from Shirecliffe, said: “I have given up on face to face appointments. I just assume I won’t get one. I can’t actually recall the last time I had one.”

Gary’s partner, Marie, recently had major cancer surgery and Gary said that she generally has a face to face appointment a third of the time because her situation is serious.

However, she was recently left waiting five weeks for a vitamin prescription after being sent paracetamol by mistake.

In August this year 60.74 per cent of GP appointments in Sheffield were face to face compared to 82.3 per cent in January 2020.

Gary thinks that he should have semi-regular appointments, but he puts them off because they are so difficult to arrange.

He said: “I had a fall the other week, I hit my head and I probably needed so see a GP, but I just thought there’s not much point.”

The couple’s surgery previously offered eConsultations – where a patient completes an online form and is later contacted by the surgery informing them of their next step.

Gary said that when the eConsultations were launched they came as a relief, because it had been so difficult to arrange appointments by trying to get through on the phone.

However, now the Norwood Medical Centre website says on eConsultations: ‘Due to unsustainable demand we have had to suspend this service until further notice.’

It also says that all GP appointments will be telephone appointments to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading, unless the problem cannot be assessed remotely.

Gary added: “It’s bloody traumatic. It has been rough for my partner. I can’t see what will improve it with the pandemic continuing in the way it is.

“The surgery do their best but they seem to be completely overwhelmed.”