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MP warns local GPs they are ‘on notice’ over patient access

MP warns local GPs they are ‘on notice’ over patient access

An MP has warned his local GPs that he is putting them ‘on notice’ for ‘letting their patients down’ with regards to access.

However, his local CCG said the comments come as GP practices delivered hundreds of thousands of routine GP appointments, and 125,000 Covid jabs.

Bradford East MP Imran Hussain, Labour’s shadow minister for employment rights and protections, made the comments in a Westminster Hall debate about the future of the NHS on Monday this week.

He said: ‘Although fewer GPs being forced to see more patients explains the scarcity of appointments, it does not explain the poor service that patients in Bradford are reporting to me. 

‘I want to use this debate to put on notice those practices that are letting their patients down. I want to be clear: there should be a better service to ensure that urgent cases receive urgent appointments, and to help close the health inequality gap between the richest and the poorest in Bradford.’

He said MPs must examine the future of the NHS for GPs, ‘who are at the coalface of health care but are all too often overlooked’.

Mr Hussain said: ‘Each week, without fail, a worrying number of constituents tell me that they have been unable to get any form of appointment, let alone a face-to-face appointment with a GP; that they have been left on hold when calling, waiting for phones that are never answered; or that, when they are given an appointment, it is weeks away, even when it is an urgent issue that simply cannot wait.

‘I dealt with two such cases this week. I heard from a son whose 82-year-old mother went to accident and emergency, but was sent away and told to go see her GP the next morning. Her son began ringing the GP practice first thing next morning, but when he eventually got through, hours later, he was given an appointment in two weeks’ time. In the other case, involving very similar circumstances, my constituent was once again told to wait for weeks.’

Mr Hussain said instances such as these would be ‘unacceptable anywhere’.

Due to the high rates of deprivation and preventable illnesses and low life expectancy in Bradford, Mr Hussain said it is ‘beyond serious, and can even be fatal’.

He added: ‘No one should have to wait for more than a fortnight for an appointment, and certainly not for urgent cases, but as the inner city of Bradford has one of the worst GP-to-patient ratios in the country, that comes as little surprise.’

Local newspaper the Telegraph & Argus said the comments come as there was a 12% reduction in GP appointments in Bradford from November to December – when GPs were asked to prioritise the Covid booster campaign over routine care.

And Dr James Thomas, a local GP and clinical chair at NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG, told the news outlet: ‘GP practices in Bradford district and Craven have delivered over 364,000 routine appointments – ensuring people received urgent care, support for long-term conditions and cancer care was prioritised – whilst also delivering more than 125,000 Covid-19 vaccinations in December, as the NHS answered the Prime Minister’s call to focus all available resource on fighting Omicron.

‘GP practices are working harder than ever and offering more appointments than ever before with a range of healthcare professionals so that we can make best use of our skilled teams while ensuring we keep our colleagues and our patients safe.’

It comes as Pulse revealed this week that the CQC’s first 40 access-focused inspections found ‘no issues’ at any GP practice.

The inspections were introduced as part of the Government’s GP Winter Access Fund plans which followed months of public and media backlash during the pandemic over the idea that GP practices were closed and GPs were not seeing patients face to face.

And a group of influential MPs have urged NHS England to produce ‘clear guidance’ regarding face-to-face versus remote GP appointments.

Meanwhile, an amendment to the new Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently at the Committee stage in the House of Lords, proposes that GPs should be mandated to work in deprived areas.



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

Dr N 5 February, 2022 10:16 pm

Two GPs a week are giving their notice to quit the NHS. So whats the plan Imran?

nasir hannan 6 February, 2022 10:43 am

Does this reflect Labour’s news policy position with regards to primary care that it will now be threatening practices during the pandemic.
do Labour hate GP’s and feel that they are failing the population?
please can we have some clarity on this?
Pulse please can you ask some questions and get official comment from Labour HQ. Please could we also ask the other political parties for their view on what the Right Honourable MP for Bradford East is saying so that we can all be informed when the next general election comes.
GP’s have died and given their lives providing care for the population, with a terrible toll on their mental and physical health.
words cannot express my disappointment.

Ian Jacobs 7 February, 2022 10:47 am

He said MPs must examine the future of the NHS for GPs, ‘who are at the coalface of health care but are all too often overlooked’.

Caitlin Tilley – this is a very odd sentence. What did you mean to report ?- can you put it another way ?

When I first read it I thought it said ” but are all too often overbooked ” – which might have made more sense .

David Church 7 February, 2022 11:56 am

Perhaps too many of Imran Hussein’s patients and their relatives are voting for a Conservative Party intent on destroying the NHS GP service, and not enough of them are voting for better treatment of GOs and more funding for primary care. And have been doing this for the last 10 years!
GPs agree with him, but are already overworked and underpaid : they cannot be expected to do more for his constituents. Those constituents must be prepared to do something constructive to relieve the problems: and there is a huge range of such thinsg they can do, besides ousting the current destructive Health Ministry regime.

Patrufini Duffy 8 February, 2022 3:39 pm

Imran’s notice. Sounds like stand up comedy.

Dave Haddock 8 February, 2022 6:53 pm

Meet the production targets Comrades, or get sent to Siberia?

Richard Greenway 8 February, 2022 6:58 pm

The problem with GP is that it gets personal. If an ambulance trust has an 8 hour wait or hospital trust has a 12 week wait for bypass surgery -they are just a faceless organisation. Whereas if a GP has a waiting time -its a personal failing. This is why other GPs get upset by the mud slinging letters telling us that we’re not seeing enough patients during a pandemic. It really is a policy issue -we needed 6000 or more GPs when Mr Hunt promised then not just the social prescribers that we got. We need firm workforce planning now before too late.

Dave Haddock 9 February, 2022 9:56 am

Suspect perfectly adequate numbers of GPs, if so much GP time was not wasted on nonsense bureaucracy and nonsense consultations.

Tim Atkinson 9 February, 2022 7:02 pm

So an opposition MP is going to put practices ‘on notice?’ And what exactly does that mean? Nothing. Another narcissist politician mouthing off for some headlines.

David Jarvis 11 February, 2022 11:22 am

Oh dear I am scared. I have seen multiple govts and plans from FPC’s district and regional health authoritied fundholding TPP PCG PCTs CCG PCNs and now what. Frankly my day today job is still the same. MP’s and govts change. I am gradually realising the innovators perhaps get some early cash whilst making life complex for the late adopters but if you are enough of a laggard the bus comes round and picks you up again without expending too much effort or energy. A lot of innovators work just goes in the bin. I have survived the fiddlings of many politicians so experience as shown me I can smile sweetly and say whatever because I am likely to be still doing my job when they have been discarded along with their latest whizzo plan and reorganisation.

Dylan Summers 11 February, 2022 12:35 pm

Like Canute putting the tide on notice not to roll in.

C Ovid 11 April, 2022 7:38 pm

Really? Don’t care what you think and certainly not the slightest bit intimidated by this pompous and toothless statement. I’m sorry for the patients: to paraphrase, they get the NHS they deserve. The answer is ultimately political. I don’t think his opinion stands for anything. Best answer for the problem rests in Whitehall: back to you then. I did lots of things today, what did you do? @David Jarvis I agree 100%