Salford patients have described over month-long waiting times at their local GP practices and being denied in-person appointments, even after a nationwide £270 million investment  to expand capacity and support GPs.

Ellie-Mae Dean, a 19-year-old student contacted her GP regarding a chest infection in September. She said:”[I]t’s just constant phone call appointments, you can never get a face-to-face appointment.

“It used to be that you could [get a face-to-face appointment] within the week, but now it’s like two months. It’s a joke.”

Dean described how, if she wanted to see her doctor in person, she’d have had to live with an untreated infection for weeks while she waited for the appointment.

She continued: “Obviously, the doctor really needs to listen to my chest, but you can’t really do that over the phone. It’s been the same issue over the past couple of weeks.”

Dean felt that she was not getting the same level of care over the phone compared to seeing her GP in person. She added: “They phoned me up and said take antibiotics. I took those, and they did nothing, so I phoned back, and they just gave me a different antibiotic [that didn’t work].

After weeks of illness and four phone call appointments, Dean’s GP finally agreed to allow her into the surgery to assess her chest.

Dean also claimed how her grandfather had issues with his GP practice when they repeatedly made a mistake in failing to give her grandfather his repeat prescription. She continued: “We’ve actually gone in, and my dad’s had to shout at them and say ‘look he’s really ill, he’s not doing well, and we need this medication’.”

Her grandfather is housebound with his illness. Dean claims that the GP surgery was unwilling to give him a home visit while also not wanting to provide more medication without seeing the elderly man.

It took four of Dean’s family members to go into the surgery to resolve the situation.

A fellow Salford man, who requested not to be named, described his troubles when attempting to book an appointment at Ordsall Health Surgery regarding his mental health. He said: “Unless you’re over 70, you’re not prioritised,”

The man was given a six-week wait for a phone appointment with his doctor. He was left in a vulnerable position with his untreated mental health and unable to provide his employer with a sick note.

“I told my friend at the time who is a nurse at Salford Royal […] She said, ‘I’ll ring up and I’ll get you an appointment.’ She rang up, and she said her professional view is that I am seen by someone quite urgently. Within half an hour of her ringing me back and saying, ‘I’ve got you an appointment’, the senior GP at the practice rang me back and did a telephone consultation with me.”

Without his nurse friend, he described that he would have had to go to the surgery at 8 am to attempt to get an emergency appointment but feels as though he would have not been prioritised as “mental health is not always shown.”

He added: “I was treated differently after [my friend called the practice on my behalf],”

While this Salford man could not see a doctor in person, he said he was happy to have a phone consultation as it wasn’t a priority to be seen face to face.

Similarly, Matt AK on Facebook detailed how he was given a three-week wait for a potentially severe illness but was able to get a sooner appointment after ringing back later in the week.


Salford GP, Dr Misty Ghangrekar said: “GP practices have been working harder and harder to meet patients’ needs ever since Covid. But it doesn’t necessarily feel that way because people have struggled more.”

The Department of Health and Social Care has recognised an issue within the country’s GP practices. The department has pledged £250 million in a winter access fund to improve the service, including boosting their capacity to increase the proportion of appointments delivered face to face.

This comes after an additional £270 million was invested over the last 11 months to attempt to expand surgery’s capacity.

It’s still to be seen how the additional funding will improve services and if patients will notice a change.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *