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Lib Dems urge health secretary to launch summer GP rescue

Lib Dems urge health secretary to launch summer GP rescue

The Lib Dems are calling on health secretary Steve Barclay to launch ‘a GP rescue plan’ over the summer, including a campaign ‘to urge retired GPs back to the workforce’.

One in six GP appointments over the past year involved waits of two weeks or more, new research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has shown.

The data from the House of Common Library showed the length of time between when a GP appointment was booked and when it took place, covering the year to May 2023.   

It showed that 16.5% of GP appointments in England took place more than two weeks after booking and almost one in twenty (4.8%) GP appointments in May involved waits of at least four weeks, up from 3.3% in the same month last year.

The party said that the analysis showed every area in the country except one has seen the proportion of four-week waits go up compared to last year.

The party is now calling for ‘a new right for patients to see a GP within a week’, or within 24 hours ‘if in urgent need’, and said that this would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs by 8,000.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: ‘The Conservative government’s neglect of our local health services is having real consequences for so many. People unable to get a GP appointment are being left waiting in pain, anxious about when they will get the care they deserve.

‘Conservative ministers must listen for once and come up with a plan to tackle the GP crisis before Parliament returns. That should include a recruitment campaign over the summer to encourage retired GPs back to work.

‘Ministers should also back the Liberal Democrat plan to guarantee everyone a GP appointment within seven days for a first appointment, or 24 hours if it’s urgent. Anything less would be failing patients up and down the country.’

Last week, Mr Davey called on the Government to launch a review of access to GPs in rural areas, led by the CQC.

This would report back with recommendations on ‘how to narrow the gap between GP waiting times in rural and urban areas’.

He said: ‘Far too many people are struggling to get a GP appointment when they need one, leaving them worried or waiting in pain for the treatment they need.

‘Rural areas are being particularly impacted by long GP waiting times hurting families and piling pressure on other NHS services.

‘The Government needs to launch an urgent review into the lack of access to GPs in rural communities and act to end yet another example of health inequality.’

Lib Dems also tabled a bill aimed at forcing the Government to ‘come clean about their failures’ and end the ‘crises’ facing general practice and dentistry. 

Earlier this year, the party claimed patients in England are being ‘rushed’ through their GP appointments.

GP appointment waits in rural areas

  • In Gloucestershire, one in ten (9.7%) GP appointments involved waits of four weeks or more.
  • This was followed by Sheffield (9.5%), Derby and Derbyshire (8.6%), Dorset (8.3%) and the East Riding of Yorkshire (8.2%). 
  • Others in the bottom ten include rural areas such as Norfolk and Waveney, West Leicestershire and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 
  • Liverpool and North Central London both had the fewest four-week waits, making up fewer than one in fifty (1.8%) GP appointments.

Source: Lib Dems



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Not on your Nelly 24 July, 2023 12:09 pm

Politicians continue to have no idea about the GP contract. It is NOT an emergency service. That is 999, a+e and wic. Jeez

Sam Macphie 24 July, 2023 5:17 pm

Obviously lack of adequate capacity to see an actual GP (not a virtual professional) remains a serious issue; as well as patients not having a feeling of continuity in their care between GPs. Also, a serious lack of capacity and running down of capacity in secondary care, hospitals and too many obstacles, hurdles put in the way for timely referrals from GPs to any other professional, specialty. Additionally, so many years of underfunding or spending NHS money on medical services that matter less or even planned ‘new’ hospitals ( that seem to be a bit delayed ) (and not available to patients in the here and now), technology with such little actual capacity or staff to use those and money going off into private schemes, agencies and the use of things like Good Governance Institute which is not even a proper ‘Institute’ according to a recent tv documentary and not even legally registered in the UK, (Ireland in fact, some sum of money was paid to register there), and like many other changes in the NHS, potentially costing more money than is really saved.
You may wonder why UK doctors emigrate and wonder why the Excess Deaths increase year on year with this Government; of particular concern are cumulative deaths in the 15 to 44 age group, set to reach more than in the year 2020. Terrible indeed.
Increased capacity all round (not just GP) and proper management (not still more management and interference) and real money injection for GPs and Hospitals and Secondary Care Rescue Plan with greater capacity for hospital outpatients and operating theatres and fewer cancellations and reschedulings; and this may even lead to less revolving from pillar to post fewer delays, worsening of disease for our patients. Perhaps Lib Dems could ask the government for greater council housing capacity too, (better housing which of course is related to health of the nation); everyone knows house building needs to increase in Britain, (or perhaps less costly, Councils buying up ‘privately rented’) and this could increase vast financial spin-offs elsewhere, such as helping the NHS in many ways.