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General Practitioners: Standards

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Hepburn Stephen Hepburn Labour, Jarrow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time was for a patient to see a GP in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) Tyne and Wear, (d) the North East and (e) England in each year since 2010.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Data on appointments in general practice have only been available since November 2017. The most recent data on the time between booking an appointment with a general practice and having the appointment (in days) for South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England North East and Yorkshire (Cumbria and North East) Regional Local Office, and England are presented in the table below as the average over the 12 months from September 2018 to August 2019. NHS Digital is unable to provide data for all the geographical areas requested as the data is collected at CCG level, but has provided data for three included in the table.

The data is taken from the NHS Digital publication ‘Appointments in General Practice’. This is a new experimental data collection which is still being refined and improved.

It should be noted that the ‘time from booking to appointment’ refers only to the time elapsed between the successful booking of an appointment and the appointment actually taking place. The data does not take into consideration that many patients will be appropriately booking ahead as part of the continuity of care they receive for long-term conditions.

South Tyneside CCG

NHS England North East and Yorkshire (Cumbria and North East) Regional Local Office


Distribution of average time elapsed between booking an appointment and the appointment taking place, September 2018 to August 2019. (Numbers may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

Same Day




1 Day




2 to 7 Days




8 to 14 Days




15 to 21 Days




22 to 28 Days




More than 28 Days









  1. There are several factors that drive the time from a booking to an appointment. This includes appointment availability at the practice, patient availability, the urgency of the appointment and general practitioner (GP) advice.
  2. The data does not differentiate between emergency and routine appointments in general practice.
  3. The data does not include any information about the patients or clinical information
  4. The data in the response includes appointments with all healthcare professional types, including GPs and other practice staff.
  5. Not all practices in England are included in the appointments in general practice publication, meaning the total number of appointments is not known.
  6. Same day and next day bookings are of particular interest so are presented here separately. Further bookings are presented grouped by weeks.
  7. The number of appointments that have already happened is provided as recorded in participating practices in England. The data presented only contains information which was captured on the GP practice systems. This limits the activity reported on and does not represent all work happening within a primary care setting.

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