New data on appointments in general practices, published by NHS England, show that patients in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes were able to book over 551,000 consultations in October 2023, an increase of 7.6% over the same month in 2022.
This figure is higher than the national average for England, which shows a 6.9% increase in the same measure.
The statistics also show that over 438,000 of these appointments in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (79.5%) took place on a face-to-face basis, compared with 70.9% across England.
Despite this good news, however, over 26,600 patients (4.8% of appointments) in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes booked an appointment but failed to turn up.
Felicity Cox, chief executive officer at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:
“These new figures show that GPs and their staff in our area are working incredibly hard to offer more appointments than last year. It’s been an extremely busy year for everyone in the NHS, and these statistics show that we’ve been able to see more patients than we did in 2022.
“Although new technology makes it easier to see a health professional remotely, we know that there are some patients who don’t have the equipment or confidence to be able to take up this option.
“Primary care is open for business but please help us to help you, by making an appointment at your practice only if you need it and by making sure you keep it once you’re booked in. Remember, too, that it may be easier to access the advice and treatment you need for many illnesses by visiting your local pharmacy.”