The letter was in response to the newspaper’s coverage of the watchdog’s report on NHS performance published yesterday.
The copy of the letter by Sir Ian Kennedy, the Healthcare Commission’s chairman, reads: ‘You were absolutely right to raise the important issue of access to GPs on your front page yesterday. You did, however, report that two thirds of patients could not gain access to a GP.
‘To be clear, our assessment does not show that two thirds of patients cannot access a GP within 48 hours. We know that 87 per cent of people report that they can see a GP within 48 hours and that is improving. But 13 per cent currently say that they cannot do so.
‘Our report was concerned with whether PCTs – the organisations responsible for managing the delivery of GP care – were meeting targets.
‘The government target states that all people should be able to see a GP within 2 days. Our assessment shows that this is not yet happening in two thirds of PCTs.
‘To arrive at our assessment we relied on the government’s survey of patients. We believe patients’ views must be taken into account and PCTs failing to meet the target need to explore why patients are having problems.’
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