WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 21st December 2022

Face to face appointments with a Doctor

A recent article in the Herald (also covered by the Telegraph) suggested that Wantage Primary Care Network (PCN), which includes the Church Street and Newbury Street practices, “has been rated the eight worst in the UK with 76.7 per cent of appointments held remotely in October.”

We went back to the NHS data on which the original article was based and can’t validate the data reported in the article.

We found that out of 17,533 appointments reported in October in Wantage, 7,657 were face to face or home visits – that’s 44 per cent.

We also found that 52 percent of appointments in Wantage were with a GP, much higher than another of the PCN’s quoted in the article (North Ely) where only 34 per cent of appointments were with a GP.

The response from the PCN stated that “The dedicated and hardworking GP practices staff in Wantage were very disappointed by what was written.

“On their behalf I would like to point out that the two practices, Church Street and Newbury Street, serve over 33,000 patients. The practices between them employ a range of health care professionals (other than GPs and practice nurses) including clinical pharmacists, a pharmacy technician, a paramedic, social prescribers, a physiotherapist a health and wellbeing coach, Advance Nurse Practitioners, minor illness nurses and healthcare assistants. They also offer online services where patients can ask for an appointment or seek medical advice.

 “In addition, the practices operate a triage system which directs patients to the most appropriate clinician to help them. This is initially by telephone and then, if appropriate, a face-to-face appointment will be made. The figures quoted in your news story imply that 76.7% of appointments were held remotely in October but this does not take into consideration the patients who are successfully directed to and cared for by another healthcare professional. 
“A more realistic representation of the data from 1 October – 27 November is shown here:
- More than 17,450 patients had a telephone call with a healthcare professional
- 13,237 appointments were provided face to face
- 300 home visits were done
- More than 2,500 covid jabs and nearly 5,790 flu jabs were done.”

“While not all these appointments have been provided by a GP, it shows that our teams are working incredibly hard to ensure that patients are seen by the most appropriate healthcare professional at the right time.”

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