NEARLY a quarter of people - 22 per cent - in Oldham are waiting longer than two weeks to be seen by a GP, with thousands waiting more than a month for an appointment.

NHS figures suggest that 68 per cent of residents in the town were not offered a choice of time or date for their appointment, and six in 10 did not get a same-day appointment with a doctor.

Some 32 per cent of people in Oldham find it difficult to get through to their practice by phone. This comes as the town gears up for the December 12 General Election, with the NHS at the centre of the major parties' election campaigns.

The new report comes from Medicspot, a digital health company hoping to put an end to the wait in Oldham by allowing doctors to perform remote examinations using equipment operated by the patient.

This new initiative allows doctors to listen to a patient’s heart and lungs, look into their ears and throat, and take their vitals including blood pressure, oxygen levels and body temperature – all without needing to be in the same room.

Dr Zubair Ahmed, co-founder of Medicspot, said: “In light of these figures, we hope our service will offer a convenient alternative for people in Oldham and help ease some of the pressures the NHS is facing.

“Longer wait times lead to more strain on an already struggling NHS. When patients are forced to wait weeks to see a GP, they often end up waiting for hours at A&E.”

A national survey of patients who have used the new service revealed 40 per cent of respondents would have gone to accident and emergency if they didn’t use Medicspot – generating a £1.2 million saving for the NHS.

This saving comes after news A&E waiting times have hit the worst level on record, with one in six patients waiting more than four hours and warnings that patients are about to endure one of the bleakest winters in NHS history.

Medicspot is already available in over 250 pharmacies across the UK, where patients pay £39 for a same-day GP consultation. The company plans to bring the service to pharmacies across Oldham early next year.

While the majority of Medicspot patients are comfortable operating the equipment themselves, a trained pharmacist is always available for those who need help.