New figures released by NHS England reveal that over 126,500 people in Cumbria, that’s around 23%, wait a week or more to speak to a GP or Nurse, or are unable to get an appointment at all. That’s an increase of around 3%, or almost 4,000 people, compared to the same figures published in July 2015.
The statistics, published in the latest edition of the GP Patient Survey, demonstrate that under the Health Secretary’s stewardship of the NHS, Cumbrian patients are finding it harder to access the services that they need.
Of those people who could not access a convenient appointment, around 3,900 people turned to already over stretched A&E departments. Meanwhile, around 103,800 people are only able to see their preferred GP some of the time, or never. This follows the news earlier this year, that January, February and March 2016 recorded the worst-ever national A&E monthly waiting times since the four-hour target was introduced in 2004.
West Cumbrian MP, Jamie Reed, has raised concerns about these figures. This is because timely access to General Practive provides the best outcomes for patients when they are ill. Difficulties in accessing a GP appointment lead to pressure on other parts of the NHS, including A&E departments.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed said:
“Our dedicated local GPs and NHS staff work incredibly hard under increasing pressures. It is clear that with ever increasing numbers of people in Cumbria unable to access a GP appointment, patients are paying the price for Government’s mismanagement of the NHS.
“Here in West Cumbria, our community is determined to build a health economy to overcome the unique challenges that we face. Government must now provide us with the immediate commitment, support and investment that we require.
“I continue to press the Health Secretary, who has so far refused to visit West Cumbria, to come to see for himself the challenges that we face in accessing Health Services in our part of the world, and the absolute need for him to step up and take responsibility for providing a truly national health service”.