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Survey: seeing GPs is harder than ever

Only just over half of patients wanting to see a GP in Barnet are able to get an appointment within 48 hours due to a shortage of doctors.

Figures released by Barnet Primary Care Trust (PCT) show 57 per cent of patients in the borough are offered appointments within two days with one unnamed practice scoring just four per cent.

The Government target is 60 per cent rising to 90 per cent by 2004.

A ten per cent sample of 20,000 appointment requests made up the survey and 75 per cent of GPs across the borough took part.

Meanwhile, seeing a nurse is even more difficult with just 40 per cent of patients being offered an appointment within 24 hours.

Andrew Burnett, director for health improvement and medical director for Barnet PCT, said: "One of the conclusions that we draw from this is that there aren't enough staff resources in Barnet in particular nurses.

"There are also a number of vacancies for GPs. We get stories of GPs having difficulty in recruiting replacement doctors when doctors retire.

"That is a national problem."

The study coincides with the launch of Barnet PCT's Health Improvement Programme (HIMP) at the Barnet Civic Forum at Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, last week. It is a plan to improve the health and wellbeing of residents through improving health services and access to them.

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