Thousands left without help when trying to access local GP appointments

New analysis of the GP Patient Survey has revealed that 8,400 people in Cumbria did not get to speak to a doctor or nurse the last time they tried to get an appointment with their GP. 
The survey of NHS Patients in England revealed, that in Cumbria, 12% of patients who were unable to get a convenient GP appointment did not see or speak to anyone about their ailment.  A further 6% (almost 4,000 people) went to A&E because they couldn’t get an appointment.
This comes as a survey by the British Medical Association reveals that 93% of GPs say their workload has had a negative impact on patient care.  Almost three quarters of GPs say that more GPs would help them deliver better care.
Labour has committed to funding 8,000 more GPs by 2020 to ease the pressure on primary care. This would also ease pressures on Accident and Emergency, where it was revealed that 1 in 10 people visiting A&E in North Cumbria wait over 4 hours to be seen.  In addition, Jamie Reed has worked alongside the University of Central Lancashire and North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust to develop a programme to ‘grow our own’ local medics.
Jamie Reed, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Copeland and Shadow Health Minister, said:
“Local GPs are working tirelessly in incredibly trying circumstances to deliver high quality care for patients in Cumbria.  The Government’s damaging reorganisation of the NHS has made it harder for people to get a GP appointment and it has left people with few options.
“Thousands of people throughout Cumbria could be suffering in silence because the Government has heaped pressure on Primary Care and this is totally unacceptable.
“Our local GPs run the risk of burning themselves out and this is bad for them and bad for patients.  This will only get worse as the Government have repeatedly rejected my calls to intervene to ease the recruitment crisis in Cumbria.  To help ease this crisis, of their own making, they should back Labour’s plans for 8,000 new GPs to help ease the pressure on primary care and back Labour’s guarantee of an appointment within 48 hours to help patients access the services they rely on.

“Locally, we are developing plans to ‘grow our own’ medical professionals and this is part of the solution, but the lack of support from the Government has worsened the local recruitment crisis.”
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