New figures from the National Survey of Wales show one in five people struggled to book time at their surgery in Wales during 2016-17.
There is an estimated 19 million appointments made a year with GPs and those finding it "very difficult" to book rose from 15% in 2012-13 to 21% in 2016-17, with people in cities worst affected.
Of the 10,493 respondents, 23% living in urban areas of more than 10,000 found it very difficult compared to 20% of those in towns, 15% of those in villages and 12% of residents in hamlets and isolated locations.
Despite this, 90% of people surveyed said they were satisfied with the care they received when they saw their GP.
Commenting on the figures, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, Angela Burns AM said:
“Staff in GP practices across Wales are working hard to deliver the best service to patients and that is demonstrated in the high percentage of people surveyed who were satisfied with the care they received when they saw their GP.
“However, there is a clear deterioration in the ability to obtain an appointment at your local GP and that is a legacy of poor workforce planning and incompetent management from the Welsh Labour Government.
“This crisis has been building for years but Labour Ministers have consistently failed to address it and have ignored the concerns of patients, GPs and other health professionals.
“In 2011, the Welsh Labour Government pledged to make GP appointments more accessible and to improve accountability, but they’ve spectacularly failed.
“This is simply unacceptable and is sadly indicative of a tired government which after 19 years in power has run out of ideas to improve public services for the people of Wales.”
Notes to editors:
The National Survey for Wales can be accessed here: http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/national-survey/?tab=current&lang=en
- 77% of people saw their GP in the last year (80% of women, 75% of men).
Of those who made an appointment:
- 21% said they found it very difficult to make a convenient appointment.
- When controlling for a range of factors, living in an urban area; being employed; being in material deprivation; having a limiting long-term illness; and feeling unsafe (at home, in local area and on public transport) were each associated with finding it very difficult to make an appointment.
- 65% of people were very satisfied with the care received at their last appointment and 25% were fairly satisfied.