GP stats spark call from County's Liberal Democrats for better care - The Malvern Observer

GP stats spark call from County's Liberal Democrats for better care

Malvern Editorial 14th Apr, 2023   0

THE LIBERAL Democrat’s county health spokesperson has called on the Government for ‘proper local health services’ after shocking statistics showed that, on average, there was only one GP for every 1,923 patients across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

With the number of doctors in general practice falling and patient numbers rising, the party claims there is a ‘crisis’.

Figures show there are now 2,000 fewer fully qualified GPs in England, compared to 2016 – across Herefordshire and Worcestershire, there are 18 less than there were seven years ago.

Dr David Nicholl said people in the two counties just wanted strong local health services but ‘years of Government neglect had caused a GP shortage crisis, leaving people unable to see their local doctor when they needed to’.

“Liberal Democrats would guarantee people a right to a GP appointment within one week so they could get the care they deserve.

“Boosting GP numbers would not only help people get appointments, it would reduce pressure on our hospitals and paramedics, saving crucial time and money elsewhere in the NHS.

“This local election is a golden opportunity to send the Government a message they cannot ignore, and elect a strong local champion who will stand up for our health services.”

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey launched the party’s local election campaign last week with a pledge to recruit more GPs and give patients a legal right to see a GP within seven days, or 24 hours in an emergency.

This would be achieved through increasing training places for GPs, a programme to retain experienced doctors and staff, and launching a recruitment drive to encourage those who have left the NHS to return.

The party is also calling for a rescue plan for social care, including setting a higher minimum wage for carers to tackle staff shortages and ensuring no one has to sell their home to pay for care.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said progress in getting patients to see their GP more quickly was being made.

“In January 2023 there were almost 120,000 more appointments available in general practice every working day than in January 2022 – almost four million more in total.

“We are also supporting practices to make better use of digital telephone systems to help increase capacity to take calls from patients particularly at the busiest times.

“There are hundreds more doctors in general practice than last year, and record numbers in training and we are close to hitting our target of delivering 26,000 additional primary care staff, including pharmacists, physiotherapists, and paramedics, who are providing care directly to patients or supporting doctors and nurses to do so.”

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