Quarter of a million more Cheshire and Merseyside GP appointments than before pandemic

More patients are receiving care from their GP practice team than ever before, with the NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside employing innovative new technologies and multi-skilled teams to help meet a growing demand for patient appointments.

The latest NHS data show that GP practices in Cheshire and Merseyside are now delivering quarter of a million more monthly appointments than they did before the pandemic.

During March 2024, for example, practices delivered over 1.2 million patient appointments – which is nearly 250,000 more than in the same period pre-pandemic.

Nearly 830,000 of these appointments were held face to face, and almost 400,000 consultations were also remotely delivered by telephone, online or video, with many patients now choosing this option when it was clinically appropriate and more convenient for them do so.

75% of GP practices in the North West have now also upgraded their phone technology, meaning that phone lines can be expanded and won’t ever be engaged. The remaining practices are agreeing dates within the next month for upgrades to happen with tech suppliers.

Across Cheshire and Merseyside, more than 1,150 additional staff have been recruited into healthcare roles at general practices since 2019 as part of the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS). 

These additional roles are enabling more people to get the help they need at their GP practice more quickly, by ensuring they are seen by the right health professional – whether that’s a GP, nurse, physiotherapist or mental health practitioner – at the right time, in a way that’s right for them.

Dr Jonathan Griffiths, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Associate Medical Director for Primary Care, and a GP in Cheshire said:


“The latest data shows that many more Cheshire and Merseyside residents are getting the care they need, when they need it, thanks to the hard work of our general practice teams.

“GPs and their teams have already delivered on a number of pledges made a year ago in the publication of the Primary Care Access Recovery Plan, and more recently the introduction of Pharmacy First is helping to free up more capacity in the system than ever before.

“Many patients are also now using the NHS app to help them with routine things such as ordering repeat prescriptions and viewing their test results, all without needing to contact their local GP practice at all.

“Although these are all significant steps forward, we know there is still more to do to help patients access care more easily, which is why we are committed to continuing to modernise and improve general practice for residents across Cheshire and Merseyside.”