Devon being ‘let down’ over GP appointment waiting times

Richard Foord MP comments on GP appointment waiting times.

To be contrasted with Simon Jupp MP’s approach to the additional problem the “old dears” in Budleigh are complaining of, their long wait in getting their medication dispensed. Not knowing if either of the two pharmacies are open, then sometimes having to queue in the cold outside. – Owl 

Lewis Clarke www.devonlive.com

A Devon MP has said people are being let down after revealing the ‘alarming number’ of patients waiting more than two weeks to see a GP. More than 140,000 patients across Devon waited more than two weeks to see a GP in September, new research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

This made up 20.2 per cent of all GP appointments, up from the 13.6 per cent of patients who waited more than two weeks to see their doctor in January. Across the country, over 5 million people waited more than two weeks for a GP appointment in September, making up 17.9 per cent of all GP visits.

Richard Foord MP has said the “alarming figures” show that patients in Tiverton & Honiton are being let down. It comes as Liberal Democrats have set out plans for patients to have a right to see their GP within a week, or within 24 hours if in urgent need.

The policy would enshrine this right in the NHS Constitution, putting a duty on the government and health service to make sure it happens. It would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs, fixing pension rules to prevent so many doctors retiring early, and increasing the number of nurses and pharmacists fully qualified to prescribe day to day medicines. The proposals were announced by Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey on a visit to Axminster Medical Practice this month.

Mr Foord said: “These alarming figures show our local health services are being run into the ground under this Conservative government. Behind these statistics are people across our part of Devon waiting for an appointment with worrying symptoms, with many are being seen too late. Visiting Axminster Medical Practice, I saw first-hand just how hard staff are working to support local people. The whole team are working flat out and their focus on same-day appointments is making a difference. However, it’s clear they’re overstretched.

“That’s why I am proud that Liberal Democrats have put forward a credible plan to ease the pressure on GP services and ensure everyone is seen within one week. It would serve to save our local health services and finally give people across our communities the fair deal they deserve. The government’s promises become ring hollow. The sad truth is they’re disinterested in improving our NHS and refuse to take action to pull it back from the brink. People here in Devon will pay the price if this government continues to take us for granted and sit on their hands”.

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