People have been driven into private healthcare by ever-lengthening waits, with residents of one neighbourhood claiming they wait up to a month before they can be seen.

Despite a host of local highlights in Forest Hill, a suburb in Lewisham, residents are struggling to receive GP appointments.

Both new and longtime locals have said they are “increasingly struggling to get hold of a GP”, and when they do, the service is poor.

Some have told My London they have to trek across neighbourhoods to find a doctor’s appointments as Forest Hill is currently without a surgery of its own.

Calls are mounting for the community of 16,000 to receive a dedicated doctor, and in the meantime, people are turning to private services.

Ali Barnes, a new Forest Hill resident who recently moved to the area with her husband, told My London she had a “horrible” experience searching for an appointment.

And, when she did find one, she said they “took a month” to receive a booking.

She said: “We tried a local one and it was horrible. It was hard to get an appointment. Appointments took a month [to get].”

A second resident said they have turned to private healthcare following their experience.

The anonymous woman, a mum, said she had lived in London since she was a teen and that her experience had changed significantly compared to her youth.

She said: “I’m having to be on hold for an hour and getting on to a receptionist and being asked ‘but is it urgent?’

“I’ve lived in London since I was a teenager and previously I could call my GP and he knew my family. I have private healthcare now.”

While residents of Forest Hill are suffering from a waiting nightmare, times aren’t quite so bad elsewhere in the UK.

Data published by NHS Digital in May this year showed more than half of appointments (51.5 percent) took place within 48 hours of a booking.

The data found that the smallest proportion of appointments – 4.8 percent – took more than 28 days to fulfil, and 4.9 percent took between 22 and 28 days. has reached out to Lewisham Council for comment.

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