Being able to see your own GP when you need to can make a big difference to your quality of care. Research has shown that high levels of patient satisfaction with being able to access a GP is linked to lower rates of emergency hospital admission (Kontopantelis et al 2010). This standard is about making sure the GP practices have enough capacity to deal with demand for appointments and avoid patients going to A&E because they can't see a GP.

What you should expect from your GP practice:

A GP practice should make sure there is appropriate access to meet the reasonable needs of the population during core hours. Therefore all patients should have access to both routine and urgent primary care services during the hours 8am – 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.  
NHS England has defined reasonable needs as ability to:

  • Attend a pre-bookable appointment (face to face)
  • Book / cancel appointments
  • Collect / order a prescription
  • Access urgent appointments / advice as clinically necessary
  • Have a home visit (where clinically necessary)
  • Ring for telephone advice
  • Be referred to other services where clinically urgent (including for example, suspected cancer)
  • Access urgent diagnostics and take action in relation to urgent resul

Last updated March 2018.