Over 130,000 four-week waits for a GP appointment in Berkshire West last year

17 Mar 2024

Berkshire West saw a 31% rise in four-week waits for GP appointments last year when compared to 2022, House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. 

The NHS data measures when the appointment was booked and when it took place. It showed that the number of appointments that saw patients wait two weeks or longer in Berkshire West has spiked by 17% to over 546,000 people in 2023, up from 465,000 people the previous year.

It means the proportion of appointments where a patient waited two weeks or longer in Berkshire West (which comprises the Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham local government areas) has risen to 19%, up from 16% in 2022. 

Reading Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservative government for letting the community down with their neglect of local health services.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a legal right to get a GP appointment within seven days, or 24 hours if in urgent need.

The policy would enshrine this right in the NHS Constitution, putting a duty on the government and health service to make sure it happens. It would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs, nurses and pharmacists fully qualified to prescribe day-to-day medicines.

Commenting, Tahir Maher, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Earley and Woodley said:

“Far too many people in Reading are struggling to get a GP appointment when they need one. It is causing people huge anxiety because they can't be confident any more about getting the care they need.

“It shows our community has been abandoned by this government when it comes to local health services.

“Being able to see a GP when you need to should not be too much to ask, but even on this measure, people are being failed after years of neglect by this Conservative government.

“That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a legal right for all patients to see their GP within seven days or 24 hours if in urgent need.”