Viewpoint: Why same-day access for over-75s does not add up for practices

I don't want to get political but there is a general election happening, so I'll just get practical instead. It's about access.

Systems such as Doctor First and GP Access are really good ways of giving patients access. They involve the needs of the patients being assessed and then met in the most appropriate way. 

Our practice has been on a same-day access system since July 2014. We've been through the highs and lows of same-day access, and I'm happy to report that only one third of the population need same-day access, and only one third are sorted by phone. The rest get something, usually the right thing, before being seen by the right person at the right time.

9,000 more GPs needed for over-75s pledge

The bad news is that if all over-75s insisted on same-day service, as per the political right being promised by the Conservatives, we would need another two GPs at our practice to cope.

Forgive the maths but we are a big practice of more than 12,000 patients, with nine WTE GPs. We have a higher ratio of GPs per patient than the England average of 6.8 GPs per 10,000 patients. 

So if we would need another two to cover our 12,000 patients, then that leaves 56m people in England needing another 9,000 GPs to deliver this election promise to the over-75s. 

Maybe my maths is wrong or maybe the politicians are just attempting to spin for political gain. You decide.

  • Dr Chris Mimnagh is a GP and co-director of clincial strategy at Liverpool Health Partners.

Photo: UNP

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