Private GP service in demand over Christmas
A new, private healthcare facility in Hemel Hempstead says demand for its GP services across the four-day festive holiday period was high, when other GP services in Herts were shut.
One Stop Doctors, which opened in November on Boundary Way, said more than 30 patients saw one of its GPs between Christmas Eve and December 27, with some patients even coming into the clinic on Christmas Day.
General manager Jacqui Page said: “Our mission is to be there when our patients need us, and to guarantee same-day appointments for GP services.
“With many NHS GPs surgeries closing over Christmas we recognised that there may not be enough GPs to cover the holiday period, so made the decision to stay open for those who really needed to see a GP over Christmas.
“The vast majority of our patients over the four-day Christmas period wanted urgently to see a GP and more than 30 of these saw a GP on the same day they contacted us.”
Nationally, the average wait to see a GP is now 13 days, according to a survey by Pulse magazine in the summer, and a GP patient survey in September showed that nearly one in five people wait a week or longer for an appointments.
The new chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, has warned that patients are being placed at “serious risk” by having to wait up to a month to see their family doctor during the busy winter period, due to GP shortages.
One Stop Doctors is open seven days a week offering a range of medical, dental and aesthetic services. A GP appointment costs £90 and a follow-up appointment £55. A monthly membership plan is available, offering half price appointments and other benefits. For more information, see www.onestopdoctors.co.uk