Leicester

Patient 'rang 80 times' to get GP appointment

De Montfort Surgery Image copyright Google
Image caption The patient said she made dozens of calls and was met with a constant engaged tone

A patient who rang her surgery more than 80 times in a vain attempt to see her GP has said the NHS is "failing".

The unnamed woman from Leicester said she was following up a previous visit but the line was constantly engaged.

She put the number on speed dial and was shocked to find she made 83 calls before getting through - and then found her GP was unavailable that day.

The local NHS said visits to GPs had gone up 30% in five years and new services were being rolled out.

The patient said she was trying to see the same GP as she had done previously at the De Montfort Surgery in Leicester but was flexible on time.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The NHS said it had set up "healthcare hubs" which offered urgent appointments

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "It was only later that afternoon when I was looking at my phone that I realised I'd rung the surgery 83 times that morning trying to get through.

"I was shocked. I'd been redialling absentmindedly while doing something else, so it hadn't registered."

After being told her GP did not take advance bookings, she was advised to try the online service after 16:00 GMT.

She said: "I've logged on to the website at 16:00 on more days than I can remember since then, and have never seen an appointment available for any doctor, let alone the one I want to see.

"I think the NHS is one of Britain's finest achievements. I absolutely value it and am genuinely happy to know money from my wages helps to pay for it.

"But the very sad truth is that right now, for whatever reason, it's failing some patients who need it."

Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group said they were seeing more than two million patients every year and "we understand that it is not always easy to get an appointment".

However, new "healthcare hubs" offered urgent appointments if the usual practice cannot fit them in, they said.

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