Letter to Patients
Regarding Delays in General Practice
I am sure that many of you will be well aware that Doctors and Nurses have been under extreme stress during covid times -as indeed most of you have as well.
The changes to our procedures that have been forced on us by the pandemic have resulted in delays in many areas including appointment timetables. The longer wait to see a GP is a nationwide problem. There are other factors not connected with Covid 19 that are contributing to difficulty in getting to see a doctor when you want to. These are, a shortage of doctors wanting to work in General Practice, not enough doctors training at medical schools, and a reluctance of young doctors to work in South Auckland, their desire to work part-time and the retirement of many experienced GP’s.
For example, my daughter in Palmerston North usually has to book 6 weeks in advance to see her doctor. This wait is normal there and changing doctors is not an option since most have closed their books. My own GP in Remuera has a 4-week wait for non-urgent appointments. Incidentally, most inner-city adult fees are double those in Papakura.
I am proud of the fact that we have managed to keep the wait for appointments less than half of the national average.
For those patients who are very sick and need urgent consults, we always open a number of slots each day for this purpose.
We apologise if the delays in getting to see your GP causes you inconvenience. I wish, like you, it was not like this but sadly this may be the norm in General practice for the foreseeable future until we train more doctors.