As Covid-19 cases continue to rise, the ‘super cold’ spreads and NHS waiting lists grow longer, we phoned doctors surgeries to see how long they are actually taking to answer the phone.
Oxford Mail readers have previously had mixed experiences with getting touch with their GP and being able to see them face-to-face.
Sophie Jefferies commented that the ‘receptionists don’t answer’ while Samantha Strange said they experienced no problems throughout the entire pandemic.
They added: “My doctor surgery has ran as efficiently and fantastic as ever.”
Doctors recently told the BBC that patients must stressfully ‘compete’ for appointments when the phone lines open.
On Tuesday October 26, the Oxford Mail phoned 10 doctors surgeries in Oxford and the results were extremely surprising.
One surgery, Banbury Road Medical Centre, answered their phone in a speedy seven seconds but another, Summertown Health Centre, took a huge 32 minutes to pick up the phone.
The majority of surgeries took between one and two minutes to answer the phone, while two took more than nine minutes to do so.
How long doctors surgeries took the answer the phone – quickest to slowest:
Banbury Road Medical Centre – 7 seconds
Dr Leaver & Partners – 56 seconds
Mayfield Clinic Oxford – 1 minute and 3 seconds (no transfer to the reception)
Jericho Health Centre – 1 minute and 53 seconds
Cowley Road Medical Practice – 1 minute and 54 seconds
Bartlemas Surgery – 3 minutes and 20 seconds
28 Beaumont Street Doctors Surgery – 4 minutes and 36 seconds
St Bartholomew’s Medical Centre – 9 minutes and 7 seconds
19 Beaumont Street Surgery – 9 minutes and 22 seconds
Summertown Health Centre – 32 minutes
Julie Dandridge, head of primary care at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “GP practices in Oxfordshire are experiencing a significant increase in demand for services, in common with every practice across the country. Regrettably, this demand may lead to longer waits to get through on the phones.
“We would encourage people to use online consultation requests available through GP practice websites for non-urgent enquiries. This also helps free up phone lines for people who don’t have internet access.
“Alternatively, you can visit your local pharmacy for clinical advice on minor health concerns. For more urgent issues or out of hours, please use the NHS 111 service, either online or by phone. Their trained agents can advise on the most appropriate way to access care.
“The NHS App is also a quick and easy way to order repeat prescriptions and get health advice. People who want a flu vaccination or a COVID booster jab should wait to be contacted by their GP practice.”
Dr Leaver & Partners and Jericho Health Centre did not wish to comment on the matter.
The other doctors surgeries have been approached for comment.