1 in 5 Unable To Get GP Appointment

Availability of Doctors Crisis

London GP South KensingtonNew research has found that 1 in 5 Brits are unable to get an appointment with a doctor – and that nearly half of all ‘very urgent’ medical issues were unable to see a doctor on the same day. 

Even prior to the pandemic, the situation was far from ideal; but COVID restrictions have made access to GPs seemingly harder.

A survey of 2000 adults was carried out in order to assess the reality of waiting times for GP appointments. The research found:

  • 47% had attempted to book an appointment in the 6 months July-Dec 2020
    • 1 in 5 were not able to get an appointment at all
    • A further 1 in 5 had to wait a week or more
    • A quarter of over 55s were unable to get an appointment
  • The the urgency of medical situation had a significant bearing upon how long consumers had to wait for an appointment ; yet nearly half of all ‘very urgent’ medical issues could not get a same day appointment
  • Of those who had booked an appointment, telephone consultations were the most common
    • 51% had a telephone appointment
    • 40% had a face to face appointment
    • 6% had video appointments

While telephone appointments have clearly been a way in which to provide a service at a safe distance, the lack of availability has left some patients disinclined to bother unless the situation becomes absolutely necessary. The impact on the nation’s health is expected to include delayed diagnosis and care.

The RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) has presented evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee as part of their inquiry into clearing the backlog. Their data suggested there could be 35 million ‘missed consultations’ as a result of the pandemic.

Jeremy Hunt, chair of the committee and former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“The NHS faces an unquantifiable challenge in tackling a backlog of cases caused by the pandemic, with 5.8 million patients waiting for planned care and estimates that the figure could double by 2025.

“However, our report finds that the Government’s recovery plans risk being thrown off course by an entirely predictable staffing crisis. The current wave of Omicron is exacerbating the problem, but we already had a serious staffing crisis, with a burnt-out workforce, 93,000 NHS vacancies and no sign of any plan to address this.

“Far from tackling the backlog, the NHS will be able to deliver little more than day to day firefighting unless the Government wakes up to the scale of the staffing crisis facing the NHS, and urgently develops a long-term plan to fix the issue.”

Private Doctors, London

For those wanting to ensure they have easy access to healthcare when they need it, there are now private GPs offering ready availability and access to excellent GP healthcare. Benefits of membership of The Smart Clinics’ medical scheme include:

  • Private GPs based in 4 London locations
  • 30 minute standard appointment times – over 3 times the average NHS appointment
  • Short waiting lists
  • Evening and weekend clinics available
  • Telephone and video appointment options – as well as face to face
  • Many health tests can be arranged privately with faster results
  • Team of medical experts for fast and efficient referral
  • Hand-picked team of highly qualified medical professionals
  • Genuine quality of care experience for patients


The Smart Clinics

Private Healthcare London

As “London’s pre-eminent integrated healthcare clinics” The Smart Clinics is a private healthcare company established in 2013, offering a membership-based alternative to NHS care for individuals and families. Vital health services include private GPs, travel clinic, sexual health, skin treatments, psychology and much more. There are also a range of children’s services available, including immunisation. The Chelsea clinic includes a dentistry studio with an extensive range of additional services such as root canal, cosmetic dentistry and whitening.

The Smart Clinics brings together a host of medical professionals offering patients high quality health services in a choice of accessible London clinic locations.

For more information contact us on info@thesmartclinics.co.uk or call  020 7052 0070.

Contact Us

Make An Appointment

Services are available through our a affordable membership packages or on a drop in 'pay as you go' basis. High quality medical healthcare is readily available:

  • Longer appointment times
  • No waiting lists
  • Evening and weekend appointments
  • Telephone, video and in-person consultations


Call our team on 020 7052 0070

  • Chelsea - Hollywood Rd: Option 2
  • South Ken - Thurloe Place: Option 4
  • Wandsworth - Northcote Rd: Option 5
  • Wandsworth - Bellevue Rd: Option 6

Lines open 8.30-5.30 Monday to Friday, 9.00-12.00 Saturday

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