COMPLAINTS about GPs and dentists in Bradford and Craven have risen above levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.
Massive pressure has been placed on the nation’s GP and dental surgeries since the start of the pandemic, leading to increased demand for medical services and a backlog of appointments.
New data from NHS Digital shows that 1,548 complaints were made about GPs and dentists in the former NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG in the year to March, up 25 per cent from the 1,237 made in the year to March 2019.
Of the complaints last year, 807, or 52 percent, were fully confirmed, meaning the medical provider was ultimately found to be wrong.
This is up from 2018-19, when 40 percent of complaints were confirmed.
NHS Digital did not collect data on complaints for 2019-20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The NHS in Bradford said its GPs are working “exceptionally hard” and a new campaign is being launched to raise awareness of how services can be accessed in GP practices.
He added that in October 2022, nearly 25,500 more citations were delivered compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South, said: “I constantly hear from constituents who are frustrated that they can’t get an appointment with their GP and that when they do, it’s often a phone consultation because face-to-face appointments haven’t yet. They’re available. pre-pandemic levels.
“Telephone appointments are a useful tool, but they simply cannot replace seeing and examining a patient in person.
“Irregular phone checks leave patients at risk of misdiagnosis or misdiagnosis.
“I have repeatedly raised in Parliament the GP shortage and the problems my constituents have getting an appointment at Bradford South.
“The fact is that the Government has chronically underinvested in the NHS over the last twelve years.
“In addition to the increase in demand and the decrease in the number of GPs, it is not surprising that the number of complaints has skyrocketed and is putting patients at risk.”
A spokesman for Bradford District and Craven Health Care Partnership said: “Nationally, we have seen an increase in people talking about their health and care experiences, along with increased demand for primary care services and this is reflected in the data.
“Although all healthcare services are under a lot of pressure, our GP practices continue to work exceptionally hard to provide people with good quality care and a positive experience.
“In October 2022, 415,985 citations were delivered in the Bradford and Craven borough, representing an increase of more than 25,466 citations compared to pre-pandemic levels.
“One of the common themes we hear from people through complaints and feedback is that we need to communicate more clearly how GP practices work. In Bradford, we have launched a new campaign, ‘It’s a GP Practice Thing’ to raise public awareness of the range of services available in GP Practices and how they can be accessed.
“The campaign has been developed by working with local patient groups and primary care staff to develop the most effective messages.”
Nationwide, GPs accounted for the majority of complaints across the two sectors, with 99,500 made in 2021-22, up 37% from 72,400 in 2018-19.
Dentists saw a smaller increase, with a 2% increase in the number of complaints, from 14,100 to 14,300 over the same period.
The Royal College of GPs, which represents the profession, said doctors were “doing their best in exceptionally difficult circumstances”.
Kamila Hawthorne, president of the organization, said that “the vast majority of patients are satisfied with the care they received.”
In response, he called on the government to remedy the “spiraling workload and job pressures” facing GPs, urging it to adopt a new recruitment and retention strategy to tackle staffing issues.
The British Medical Association, a union for medical staff, said it understands patients’ frustrations with the health service, but GP practices are currently facing “unbearable pressure”.
In England, the most common reason for complaining about GP surgery last year was ‘communication’, accounting for 15 per cent of complaints, while for dentists, the highest proportion of complaints was about the “clinical treatment”.
Separate figures, also from NHS Digital, show that GPs made 32 million appointments in October, the highest monthly figure since November 2017, when the records were first available.
A spokesman for NHS England said GP staff are working “round the clock” to get patients the care they need.
“While seven in 10 patients report a good experience in their practice, the NHS is determined to make it easier to get an appointment, which is why we have recruited over 21,200 additional staff since 2019 and improved practice phone systems. so people can talk. staff more quickly and easily,” they said.
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