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GP Queues? – ‘It’s The Government’s Fault’ Says Labour Candidate

Published on: 29 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 3 Aug, 2014

Doctor imageOne in five patients in Guildford and Waverley waited seven days or longer to see a GP the last time they tried, a Healthwatch survey has found. 

The figures are being highlighted by Guildford’s prospective parliamentary Labour candidate who stated in a press release: “Labour has pledged to invest £100 million in GP surgeries – saved by scrapping David Cameron’s NHS market rules that waste millions on lawyers’ fees and contract tendering – to guarantee appointments within 48 hours or on the same day for those who need it.”

According to the survey, conducted by the council funded Healthwatch Surrey, which describes itself as a “new independent consumer champion”, 20 per cent of local patients, 40,000 people,  faced a wait of a week or more when they phoned for an appointment in the last year. The local figure is worse than that for England as a whole where 16 per cent, or one in six patients, had to wait over a week.Health Watch Surrey

The county-wide research also concluded that 34 per cent of people always, or often, got an appointment on their chosen day with 28% always or often getting one at their chosen time.

Richard Wilson said: “David Cameron has made it harder for people in Guildford to get a GP appointment – proof he can’t be trusted with our local NHS.

Richard Wilson teh prospective Labour parliamentary candidate for Guildford

Richard Wilson Labour’s prospective  parliamentary candidate for Guildford

“Within days of the last election, he abolished Labour’s appointments guarantee and now thousands of people here are waiting over a week. Labour will scrap David Cameron’s NHS market and invest the savings in helping people get a GP appointment within 48 hours or on the same day for those who need it.”

“This survey shows that in Guildford and Waverley the number of people waiting over a week for a doctor’s appointment is one of the highest in England. Residents of Guildford and Cranleigh tell me about unacceptable waits to see a GP nearly every day on the doorstep.

“The two current local MPs, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former Public Health Minister Anne Milton, must act now to restore access to GPs with 48 hours. If elected next May repairing the damage caused to the NHS by the Conservative-LibDem Coalition will be my highest priority.”

The survey, which received 1,111 responses, was commissioned after concerns were recorded by Citizens Advice Bureau offices in Surrey and passed to Healthwatch Surrey. The findings are consistent with similar surveys about GP services from across England – meaning the situation is generally no better or worse in Surrey than in other counties.

Chief executive of Healthwatch Mike Rich said the survey will be shared with health commissioners and GP practices and hopefully help services respond to the problems highlighted.

“It’s apparent that patients’ frustrations centre on problems accessing urgent same day appointments coupled with a widespread inability to book follow-up appointments in advance, especially with their own GP,” Mike said.

“Patients said they would like a three-category booking system: one for urgent same day appointments, one for non-urgent appointments in the following few weeks and one for longer term dates of two weeks to six months ahead.

“I urge GP practices to hear what is being said by their patients regarding these issues,” he explained.

See also Dragon Interview: Richard Wilson – Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

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