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OPINION: The Conservative party are simply unfit to run our NHS

Patients should be able to see their GP when they need to

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Today Liberal Democrats have announced a five-year plan to give patients a legal right to see a GP within a week or 24-hours if in urgent need; this pledge will be in our General Election manifesto. Last year there were 1,113,854 appointments that took over two weeks in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, equating to 18 per cent of appointments.

This included a staggering 347, 849 which took longer than a month, six per cent of all appointments.

The number of disturbingly long waits across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been getting worse. In 2022, there were 775,623 over two weeks, or 14 per cent of all appointments.

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Last year this shot up drastically to 1,113,854 or 18 per cent of all appointments.

Liberal Democrats, under our plans, promise that patients will no longer be left waiting for an appointment and risk their conditions getting worse.

The party will deliver the plan by:

  • Increasing the number of full-time equivalent GPs by 8,000, half by boosting recruitment and half from retaining more experienced GPs.
  • Freeing up GPs’ time by giving more prescribing rights and public health advisory services to qualified pharmacists, nurse practitioners and paramedics.
  • Introducing a universal 24/7 GP booking system.
  • Removing top-down bureaucracy to let practices hire the staff they need and invest in training.

This Conservative government has abandoned local health services; we call for a fair deal for patients.

This Conservative government’s neglect has caused huge damage to our local health services. Agonising waits, sometimes in terrible pain, are the reality for too many patients wanting to see their GP.

Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire

Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire

The Conservative party are simply unfit to run our NHS. Local health services have been driven into the ground and patients are living with the consequences.

Patients should be able to see their GP when they need to. The Liberal Democrats commitment to a legal right to see a GP within a week is the fair deal for patients we need.”

Here are details of our plan for patients to have a legal right to see a GP within seven days or 24-hours if in urgent need:

Enshrine a new right in the NHS constitution to see a GP or the most appropriate practice staff member within seven days, or within 24 hours.

Increase the number of full-time equivalent GPs by 8,000, half by boosting recruitment and half from retaining more experienced GPs:

Increasing training places for GPs.

Making it more attractive for junior doctors to become GPs once they’ve been trained, including career development and training programmes.

Retain experienced GPs and help them stay in the profession.

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Launching a scheme to encourage GPs and nurses who’ve left the NHS to return.

Give everyone 70+ and everyone with long-term health conditions access to a named GP.

Free up GPs’ time by giving more prescribing rights and public health advisory services to qualified pharmacists, nurse practitioners and paramedics.

Introduce a universal 24/7 GP booking system.

Remove top-down bureaucracy to let practices hire the staff they need and invest in training.

The data from the House of Commons Library can be found here. The NHS data measures the time between when the appointment was booked and when it took place.

Ian Sollom, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire said: “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes and confident that if they are burgled, the criminal will swiftly face justice.

Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire

Source: This data based on analysis of the underlying data from NHS Digital’s Appointments in General Practice December 2023 publication.

King’s Fund – Public satisfaction with the NHS and social care in 2023 can be found here.

Notes from the Commons Library

This data measures the time between booking and the appointment taking place. This includes cases where the patient requested a particular date, so it is not a direct measure of “waiting times”.

The data includes all appointments in general practice (including those with e.g. nurses or other staff).

The overall increase in the number of GP appointments in England is an important background context for the data. The overall number of appointments in England was nearly 20 million higher in 2023 than in 2022 (+6%). Column Q in the main data table shows the percentage increase for each sub-ICB location.

The percentages exclude the small number of appointments for which the time between booking and appointment is not known.

Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire

Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire

Ian Sollom is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire

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