This is how long Spaniard has to wait on average for an appointment with the GP

by Lorraine Williamson
GP appointments
ASSSA

Spaniards who want to make an appointment with the GP have to be patient. The average waiting time for the appointment in Spain is more than 8 days. Waiting time dropped to 8.34 days, according to the latest health barometer. That is 1.14 days shorter than the year before, according to the Health Barometer 2024.

The Health Barometer was carried out by the Spanish Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS). The survey, which was conducted in April this year, surveyed a total of 2,576 people aged 18 and over.

In terms of waiting times, 25.1% of those who made an appointment were able to see their GP the same day or the next day. And that’s 5% more than in last year’s survey. The rest had an average wait time of 8.3 days. Of the people who had to wait more than a day for an appointment, 22.5% even had to wait 11 days or more. And for 10.9%, the delay was between 8 and 10 days. For 17% it was 7 days.

More positive about primary care and health system

83.6% of primary health care users rated the care they received positively. This percentage has increased slightly from the 80.4% in 2023. The most appreciated aspects are the trust and safety that both the nursing and medical staff exude (8.08 and 7.87 out of 10 respectively). Satisfaction with primary health care rose slightly, reaching 6.29 points compared to 6.19 a year earlier. The appreciation of specialised care remains positive, but the score dropped from 5.95 to 5.86 points.

In addition, the Health Barometer shows a slight increase in public satisfaction with the public health system. This received a score of 6.26, slightly higher than the score of 6.14 in the same period in 2023.

Emergency care (7.51 points) and hospital care (7.14 points) remain the top-rated aspects of the health system. 50.1% of the population still thinks that the working population finances all or part of the public health system.  Only 45.6% know that it is financed by the taxes of all citizens.

Months-long wait times for mental health services

In addition, according to the Health Barometer, 40% of Spaniards who consulted a professional for mental health problems managed to be seen within 1 to 3 months. This is the first time that the CIS document has included a mental health question. Only 26% managed to make an appointment within 30 days and the remaining 26% needed more than 3 months for a consultation.

17.8% of those surveyed indicated that they needed to consult a health professional due to a mental health problem or psychological or emotional discomfort. 46.3% had an appointment in public health care, 44.7% in private health care and 2.6% in both. Of those who received treatment in the public health system, 40.1% reported being seen by a specialist in psychiatry. 33.1% by their GP and 20.8% by a psychologist.

Specialist care

42.3% of those surveyed have consulted a public health specialist in the last twelve months, either on referral from the general practitioner (37.2%) or by appointment by the specialist himself in a previous consultation (57.9%).

Of those who received a referral from their GP, 41.1% had to wait more than 3 months. For 37.8% it was between 1 and 3 months. Only 19% of respondents had to wait less than a month.

81.5% rate the care received positively, which is about the same as in 2023 (82.8%). Users receive the information about their health problem and the trust and safety provided by the medical staff (7.74 and 7.73, respectively).

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