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GPs facing ‘astonishing neglect’ under Tories, says shadow health secretary

General practice is facing ‘astonishing neglect’ under the Tory Government, Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth has said.

His comments come as NHS England’s annual survey of more than 800,000 GP patients shows that the number of people waiting ‘a week or more’ to see a GP or nurse increased by 7% on last year.

Meanwhile, the number of patients who ‘always or almost always’ are able to see or speak to their preferred GP has decreased by 10%.

An analysis of the latest GP Patient Survey for England by the Labour party, shows that access to GP services has worsened over the past five years, which the shadow health secretary has said is due to sustained underfunding of primary care services by the Tory Government.

The survey found that this year, 13% of patients said the overall experience of making an appointment ‘fairly poor’ or ‘very poor’ – an increase of 4% on the July 2012 survey.

In response, Mr Ashworth said the finding show that patient experience with GP services is ‘getting drastically worse’.

He said: ‘Overworked and underfunded GPs are struggling to cope with rising needs from patients.

‘Across the country GPs and practice staff are working to keep the service running in the face of astonishing neglect from Theresa May and her ministers.’ 

However, Pulse reported earlier this month that the same survey found that patient satisfaction is still relatively high with 92% of patients saying they were confident in the last GP they saw, while just under nine in every ten said that their overall experience of their GP surgery was ‘good’ or ‘very good’.