Oxford Mail readers have been sharing their experiences of booking appointments to see their GP.

They spoke out after it emerged that some GPs in Oxfordshire were struggling to cope with the demand for appointments as they work through backlogs caused by the pandemic.

According to Deddington Health Centre, waiting times for a routine check-up are currently between three to four weeks.

Latest figures show that only half of GP appointments in Oxfordshire were held face-to-face after major steps to ease coronavirus restrictions went ahead.

Read again: Afghanistan veteran fears he lost legs for nothing

GP practices in Oxfordshire booked 34,292 more appointments in June 2021 than they did the previous month, and 43,614 more than they did in June 2019, before the start of the pandemic.

This has led to GP surgeries not being able to respond as quickly as they would like to.

As a result, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has asked people to use alternate services for non-emergencies in order to reduce strain on the NHS.

They said: “GP practices in Oxfordshire are experiencing a significant increase in demand for services, which has resulted in an increase in patients contacting GP surgeries by phone.

“We are encouraging people to use the online consultation request for non-urgent inquiries. Consider a visit a visit to a local pharmacist for clinical advice on minor health concerns.

"We asked readers on Facebook if they had struggled to book a GP appointment recently and some said they were not happy with the service they were receiving.

CALLY HILL: “I must be different. I quite like the phone appointments. It weeds out the stuff that doesn’t need to be seen. Especially when people continue to try to go to doctors with coughs, temps and loss of taste and smell when all they need to do is a PCR test and stay home. “That way when I go into the doctors for actual face to face appointments, if feel happier knowing they have hopefully not just seen a patient with mild covid symptoms and have now passed on to my doctor. “The only thing I would change is to know when they doctor will phone me back rather than them just saying at some point today.”

IRENE GREENING: “I have had no problems with my surgery, if we need to speak to a doctor we get a phone call first, if he needs to see me, I have had a face to face appointment on the day or the next day, I have had excellent service throughout Covid cannot complain at all, although I understand people have been having a lot of problems.”

GLYN PLESTED: “Phone calls should stop get back to face to face appointments, dentists podiatrist all working with patients why are doctors not doing it, answer because its next step to privatisation. Read again: Veteran fears he lost his legs in Afghanistan for nothing

GIORGOS KOUTSOGIANNIS: “GP stands for Go Private....”

KEN HOPKINS: “Is this any wonder with the growth in housing we have seen in Oxfordshire as a whole ?”

FLORA MCKENZIE: “Why are phone appointments still priority? Why aren’t GPs back to normal service like most of the population? “If we can work in the Covid world then surely doctors can too. “I’m far from happy with our surgery..our NHS..long story but seems no one cares genuenly these days. Doctors back in the 50s, 60s,70s, 80s, worked to care for their patients. These days most GPs haven’t a clue who their own patients are.”

FRANCESCA PURCELL: Yep.” CAROL DAVIES: “When are they going to stop phone appointments and give us face to face appointments? Come on Banbury Cross health centre.”


SOPHIE JEFFERIES: “Sixty mins just to get through to reception the other day and no answer.”


SAM CURRAN: “Not seen a GP since before Covid.”

KIRSTIN GUNNING: “No - it’s all about compromise. If you can’t actually go to see your GP be happy with a phone appointment to start with and be prepared to speak to another GP instead of your own.

DEAN GILES: “Thankfully I’m in my 60s, enjoy it when it goes private and you have to start paying - it won’t be long.”