Faith in North West London’s NHS services is at “an all time low” as patients are left waiting longer and longer to be seen.
A presentation to health bosses from Healthwatch Harrow showed satisfaction levels when it comes to accessing appointments is at its lowest level ever with less than half of patients feeling satisfied with the service.
It also reported regular waits of six to seven hours at Northwick Park Hospital’s A&E department, as people have flocked there after failing to secure a GP appointment.
Healthwatch Harrow’s Marie Pate said there have been ongoing issues with busy phone lines and growing wait times across the region.
Read more:South London hospital slashes patient backlog – but thousands have waited months for treatment
She explained the issues are in part due to a backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and continued efforts to fight transmission.
Marie said: “We all know what it’s like after 18 months of working like this and it’s just frustrating for patients.
“It’s not great and something needs to be done to address it. The plans are seeking to do that.”
She was quick to point out there are “rarely complaints about the quality of care” and the majority of problems are linked to access.
Health workers are also affected by the situation – the report noted there has been a clear impact on staff working conditions and morale.
Harrow GP Dr Genevive Small said: “It’s stressful for patients, it’s stressful for staff and, ultimately, people want to get the care and treatment they need and deserve.”
She added it is “really hard work” when every conversation concerns access as well as the other problems doctors face, least not during a global pandemic.
Dr Muhammad Shahzad, from Edgware’s Zain Medical Centre, urged everyone to work together to turn things around.
He said: “We are all human – doctors are overworked, patients are stressed.
“There’s a divide and nobody wants it. We have to come together here so we can finish that divide. People need to know that we care.”