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Improving access to GP services a key issue for older people

Improving access to GP services a key issue for older people

In a survey of nearly 900 older people carried out by Later Life Ambitions, over 72% have rated their overall experience of the NHS positively.

The NHS is a hugely significant public institution and the survey results clearly demonstrate the considerable impact that it has on the lives of older people, with 98% of respondents having said that they or a family member had used NHS services in the past 12 months.

When asked about the ease of accessing different NHS services the results were less positive. 45% stated that they have had difficulty doing so, with clear themes emerging around securing GP appointments, and long waiting times for operations. For example, one LLA member described securing a GP meeting as “hopeless” while another said the system was like a “lottery”. Other members highlighted waiting times of between 3 – 6 weeks for routine operations and a lack of consistency in care.

When asked which NHS services would benefit from extra funding, it is not surprising that members ranked GP services as number one, with over 40% of the vote. This was followed closely by improved integration of health and social care, something LLA has long supported.

Considering the extent of the recent ‘winter crisis’ endured by the NHS and the passing of its 70th anniversary, these results show that the health service is still highly regarded, but that increased funding is necessary in certain areas. Finally, our members indicated that they would be willing to see taxes increase to sustain and improve the service, with over three quarters of respondents saying that they would be willing to contribute a bit more in “a fair and balanced way.”