Banbury area patients are using A&E because they cannot get GP appointments, says Labour
Banbury & Bicester Labour released statistics showing 14 per cent of people in the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) Integrated Care System (the new health region) who try to make a GP appointment do not get one, while 8,339 are forced to wait over a month.
They say the NHS England figures show they could not see or speak to a GP or nurse the last time they tried.
Banbury MP Victoria Prentis said the problem had been exacerbated by the pandemic and record demand.
Labour says in June alone, 28,339 GP appointments in BOB were held a month late.
“When the Conservatives entered government in 2010, they scrapped the guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours,” said Labour leader Sean Woodcock.
“Since then, public satisfaction with GP services has fallen by 39 percentage points – from 77 per cent in Labour’s last year in government, to just 38 percent now, the lowest level since the survey began in 1983.
Mr Woodcock said 40 per cent of appointments in BOB are not held face-to-face.
“The Government has admitted failing to meet its manifesto pledge to recruit more GPs. The number of GPs is falling and hundreds of practices have closed since the 2019 general election. Many ‘GP appointments’ held today are not with a GP.
“A BBC Panorama investigation in June found unqualified staff at Operose Health practices, the UK’s largest GP chain, are seeing patients without the required supervision,” he said.
"I hear from residents (who)… end up going to A&E, putting more pressure on services there. Victoria Prentis talks about caring for the Horton, yet she’s complicit in pushing it to breaking point.”
Mrs Prentis said: “Ensuring good access to GPs has been a challenging issue for many years, but unfortunately has only been exacerbated during the pandemic.
"Our GPs and the NHS as a whole are facing record demand. In addition to patients we would expect at this time of year, two years’ worth of patients who stayed at home and protected the NHS are coming forward.
“I speak to our local public health providers regularly and am very aware of the challenges they continue to face with waiting lists. Record numbers of patients are being seen by GPs and progress continues to be made across the country. In June, 65 per cent of appointments were face-to-face. 1.3 million patients are being seen per day in primary care.
“I welcomed the Government’s announcement of £1.5 billion in 2020 to create an additional 50 million general practice appointments by 2024. The NHS published a blueprint in October last year for achieving just that, as well as setting out provisions for additional funding.”
Mrs Prentis said in 2021/22, 4,000 doctors accepted a training place compared to 2,671 in 2014. There is a record 36,000 full-time GPs and their equivalents – 1,400 more than in 2019, she said.
“I also welcome the introduction of workforce planning measures through the Health and Care Act, which will ensure the NHS can provide the workforce needed to meet our health and care needs. Health Education has been commissioned to carry out work to assess the requirements at an ICS level that are needed to serve local populations.”