Patients find it harder to get an appointment with their doctor

Patients increasingly notice that their GP or doctor’s assistant are more difficult to reach and that they have to wait longer for an appointment, the Dutch Patient Federation said after surveying over 12,000 people. More than a third noticed a “change” in accessibility, often a negative one.

GPs “fortunately almost always” manage to provide patients with care, and satisfaction with GPs is “still high, according to the federation. However, the results of the study “clearly show that the pressure on general practitioner care is increasing,” said Dianda Veldman,d director of the Dutch Patient Federation.

According to the federation, “there is no doubt that how GP care is organized and offered in the Netherlands must change to keep GP care manageable for GPs in the future, as well as accessible and reachable for patients.”

The federation called for more cooperation between GPs so that they can, for example, organize a reception network for people who (temporarily) do not have a GP available. Pharmacists could play a more significant role in monitoring someone’s medication use. And digital contact with the GP can also be better.

“Physical contact with the GP must always remain possible for a patient, but contact via a secure chat or email is also suitable for many questions or ailments,” said Veldman. “The time that a GP saves, he or she can spend on patients who really need it.”

Reporting by ANP

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