RESIDENTS in and around Halstead have expressed their frustrations with the struggle to book GP appointments.

It comes as patients will be able to get a non-urgent GP appointment within two weeks and a same-day urgent slot under new plans unveiled by the Health Secretary.

In the proposals set out she explained how the 8am scramble for appointments could be eased as the NHS rolls out new telephone systems.

The systems, already used by some surgeries, will mean that patients are not automatically cut off if there is no-one available to take their call.

The Gazette asked readers how easy they have found it to get a GP appointment.

Many commented that they found getting an appointment an near impossible and stressful experience.

Chris Jones said: “Impossible. The NHS is broken.

“Had a Bupa phone GP appointment in the end within a few hours. Unfortunately need to see GP face to face so back around in circles we go again.”

Richard Over said: “When you have made 30 attempts to get an appointment, finally get through after the phone call lottery, to then get told all the appointments have gone for the day.”

Eddy Metson added: “Impossible. Every time we call it is a phone call appointment at best and a thorough diagnosis is near impossible.

“I called regarding my gout just over a month ago and asked to be seen and was refused. Two days later I ended up in Colchester Hospital having antibiotics and fluid drained from my leg due to a severe infection.

“The NHS is under so much pressure because of the cuts to the budget.”

The majority of comments suggested people had found it hard, however, others had a different experience and didn’t experience any issues getting an appointment.

The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System was contacted for comment.