Millions of patients miss out on a GP appointment after online booking system ...

Millions of patients have been unable to make a GP appointment after an online booking system crashed for almost two days.

The Patient Access service is used by six million patients to book a consultation at their surgery and order repeat prescriptions.

It is meant to enable patients to book appointments at their convenience rather than having to ring-up during surgery opening hours.

But the system began experiencing technical difficulties on Tuesday that were not resolved until yesterday afternoon. The private firm which runs the service blamed an 'unprecedented level of demand' over the last two days.

It promised patients they would be updating the system on Wednesday to make it more user friendly.

But this resulted in a surge of patients logging in at once to try it out and the site was unable to cope.

Patient Access service is used by six million patients to book a consultation at their surgery. But the system began experiencing difficulties on Tuesday that weren't fixed until yesterday afternoon

Patient Access service is used by six million patients to book a consultation at their surgery. But the system began experiencing difficulties on Tuesday that weren't fixed until yesterday afternoon

Relax visa rules for foreign doctors say Tory MPs 

Immigration rules must be relaxed to address the NHS staffing shortage, Tory politicians have reportedly urged Theresa May.

MP Heidi Allen wrote to the prime minister addressing the availability of foreign workers for the NHS.

The letter, signed by enough Tory MPs to defeat the Government, asked for visa application rules to be relaxed, according to The Times. Mrs Allen was reported to have written: 'Without urgent intervention, we believe our NHS is heading towards a perfect storm.'

A Home Office spokesman said the immigration system should ensure 'employers look first to the UK resident labour market before recruiting from overseas'. 

People were told to call the NHS 111 helpline if they were seriously ill or phone their surgery directly if it was less urgent. Although the fault has since been resolved, it raises further concerns about the NHS's growing reliance on technology.

In May last year, up to a third of NHS hospitals were crippled by a cyber attack believed to have been launched in North Korea.

And last month Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted up to 450,000 women had missed breast cancer screening checks due to a computer fault which was not rectified for nine years.

Dr Amir Hannan, a GP

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