The report said: “It is increasingly clear that many patients have found that new methods for arranging appointments do not work for them, or simply that they do not understand how to go about it. GPs are the front door to the NHS, and patients are increasingly perceiving that that door is closed to them.”

Roughly half of those who had telephone consultations said the experience was worse than a traditional appointment, with three times as many saying they were unhappy about their experience, compared with those offering praise. 

The report warns: “The data does not show a ringing endorsement of new or remote methods for accessing NHS care; indeed, in most cases patients rated these methods worse than traditional contact.”

Across all NHS services, two thirds of patients had struggled to access care, with almost as many seeing appointments cancelled or postponed.

Ms Power said: “The results show much that is worrying. Access to GP services continues to be a struggle for many patients, and there is clear dissatisfaction among many with the nature of remote consultations by phone or other means. 

“As a result, we are calling for face-to-face appointments to be restored as the default form of GP appointment, with remote consultations available as an option for those who prefer them.”

The polling last year was completed by 953 people, while the survey this year had 453 responses. 

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