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MP launches website to log 48-hour GP access failures

A Conservative MP has set up a website asking patients to report problems getting an appointment with their GP within the 48-hour access target.

Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield, started the site just before Christmas. It has so far had more than 1,000 responses.

Mr Shapps said he was convinced Government figures showing 87 per cent of patients were seen within 48 hours were wrong.

'The real figures are hidden because it's almost impossible to measure how many people are getting through on the phones,' he said.

Mr Shapps said he was not blaming GPs as the Government had not given them any incentive to improve telephone access.

'If you try and hire more receptionists the GP doesn't have any more doctors and so can't give any more appointments, and so won't meet their targets.

'It's almost in GPs' interests not to have extra phone lines.'

Mr Shapps intends to run the project for another six months, then present the findings to PCTs and the Government.

But GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said it would produce a 'very skewed and unscientific view'.

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