New figures released by NHS England have revealed that 22% of people in Cumbria, some 110,500 people, wait a week or more for a GP appointment or are unable to get an appointment at all. This is an increase of more than 4,300 compared with the data published in 2014.
The figures also revealed that more and more people are turning to A&E because they can’t get a convenient GP appointment. The GP Patient Survey showed that 4,600 people turned to A&E because they were unable to get a convenient appointment an increase of 28.5% compared with the survey results published in July 2014. This comes as figures release earlier this year show 1 in 10 waiting more than 4 hours in A&E in North Cumbria.
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“This is further evidence of the NHS going backwards under the Conservative Government and it is patients paying the price. Thousands of people are struggling to get a GP appointment and are left with little option, but to go to already-overcrowded A&E departments.
“Our doctors and nurses are working incredibly hard under increasing pressure, but the Government are doing nothing to help.
“Over 110,000 people in Cumbria are unable to see their GP within a week. This isn’t acceptable. In 2010, the Government cut Labour’s support for extended opening hours and scrapped the 48-hour appointment guarantee which has left people in Cumbria struggling to get an appointment. Instead of empty words and broken promises, Ministers must now present a credible plan for alleviating pressure in our A&E departments and GP surgeries.”