RESIDENTS in and around Braintree and Witham have expressed their frustrations with the struggle to book GP appointments - with one person having to call more than 100 times.

It comes as patients will be able to get a non-urgent GP appointment within two weeks and a same-day urgent slot under new plans unveiled by the Health Secretary.

In the proposals set out she explained how the 8am scramble for appointments could be eased as the NHS rolls out new telephone systems.

The systems, already used by some surgeries, will mean that patients are not automatically cut off if there is no-one available to take their call.

The Times asked readers how easy they have found it to get a GP appointment.

Many commented that they found getting an appointment an impossible and stressful experience.

Linda Brooks said: “Unbelievably difficult, you phone on the dot at 8am and receive an automated message to say 20 people are in the queue so you are cut off.

"They refuse to make appointments any other way than emergencies on the day.

“The system is appalling especially when you have ongoing health problems.

“I don't want to take an emergency appointment from a sick child I just want to see a doctor.

“Just a dreadful situation.”

Samantha Gibbins said: “My dad has struggled getting a face to face appointment with his doctor since having a stroke in August last year.

“I now just go straight through 111 If I need to see a doctor that day.”

Kalei Milligan added: “A few weeks ago I rang at 8am and had to call 186 times to get through.”

The majority of comments suggested people had found it hard, however, others had a different experience and didn’t experience any issues getting an appointment.

The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System was contacted for comment.