Patients are facing unacceptable delays for GP appointments in south Essex a survey has revealed.

The 2018 NHS Patient Survey shows nearly a third of patients in the Basildon and Brentwood area had to wait a week or more to see their GPs – double that of five years ago.

One in six patients in Castle Point and Rochford faced similar delays, up from 10 per cent five years ago to 18 per cent

In Southend one in five patients struggled to see their GPs in under a week – an increase from 12 to 21 per cent.

However, the survey reveals there are big differences in waiting times between surgeries with some patient facing much long delays than others.

Dr Pratim Chaudhury’s surgery in Canvey Central Primary Care Centre saw patients happy with many areas of the practice but 40 per cent of patients taking part in the survey were unable to get an appointment in a week.

One surgery which gave a fast service to patients was the Aryan Medical Centre in Basildon, with just 4 per cent waiting more than a week.

Dr Jojo Mampilly from the centre said: “I work part-time at the surgery now but used to be full time when I would see patients up to 7pm each day.

“We see patients immediately the same day if possible.

“I don’t know what the problem is with other surgeries but we have done this for years.

“Depending on the patient’s symptoms, we would try to see them the same day but if not then the next day.”

NHS bosses are working on plans to improve primary healthcare in communities to relieve the strain on hospitals.

However the survey reveals more patients are ending up in A&E after failing to get a GP appointment in a reasonable time.

In June the Echo revealed a total of 120 GPs could be hired in south Essex in an attempt to tackle long waiting times caused by a shortage of doctors.

NHS bosses are looking to plough £30million into a new strategy to help alleviate the pressure.

The plans came after warnings that up to half of the county’s GPs and a quarter of nurses could retire by 2020.

Last year, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, vowed to ensure all doctor’s surgeries would open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, unless they proved there was no demand.