More than half of the patients waited at least 7 days for a consultation with their GP

He shortage of professionals in primary care continues to take its toll on public health users. 50.4% of patients had to wait more than 7 days before being seen by their GP in the first months of the year. This is clear from the first wave of the 2024 Health Barometer, drawn up by the Sociological Research Centre (CIS) and the Ministry of Health.

In concrete terms, 17 percent had to wait 7 days, while for 10.9% the delay was between 8 and 10 days. But the largest percentage, 22.5 percent of the population, consists of those who could only get an appointment with their GP eleven days or more after requesting it.

The average delay to be visited by the GPAlthough it was down slightly compared to a year earlier, it remained quite high, at 8.3 days, and only 13.3 percent of patients managed to get an appointment on the same day they requested it, while another 11.8 percent treated the hundredth the next day.

Patients believe that the problem of waiting lists remains the same (47 percent of respondents believe this). However, 34.6% think that they have worsened in the past twelve months and only 9.3 percent of patients see any improvement in their complaints.

However, the percentage of people who are satisfied with the care in health centers is improving and stands at 83.6 percent. What primary care patients value most is the trust and security that both doctors and nurses transmit to them. In general, Spaniards give a score of 6.26 to the health care system.

Specialized care, in turn, continues to cause significant delays. Only 19 percent of the population could be seen by a specialist within a month of referral by the GP. 37.8 percent had to wait 1 to 3 months and for 41.1 percent the waiting time was more than 3 months.

This wave of the barometer, carried out in the month of April and with interviews with 2,576 people, asks for the first time about some aspects related to mental health. 17.8 percent of respondents claim to have had a consultation with a health care provider for a mental health problem. The majority of them went to public health for this (57.2%).

In most of these consultations, it was the psychiatrist who treated the patients (40.1%), but general practitioners also played an important role in this area, as they attended 33.1 percent of the consultations related to mental health. Another 20.8% were treated by a psychologist.

But also in mental health consultations the waiting time was not what was desired. Only 25.9 percent of patients were seen within a month, while 40% had to wait between 1 and 3 months before they could go for a consultation and the delay was longer than 3 months for 26.6 percent of respondents.

(news in extension)

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