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Lib Dem parliamentary candidate hits out at local GP shortage

January 22, 2019 7:35 PM
Originally published by Mid Sussex Liberal Democrats

An analysis by the BBC has found that the Mid Sussex and Horsham area is the second worst part of the country when it comes to access to GP services. The shock analysis revealed that there was only 1 GP for every 2,997 patients.

Robert Eggleston and Norman Lamb

Commenting on these findings, Robert Eggleston Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Mid Sussexsaid, "Mid Sussex GP practices are already struggling to cope with the demand on their services and residents across the constituency have complained about the difficulty of getting appointments. Demand is only going to increase as more major house building projects get underway, particularly around Burgess Hill. When you add in the pressures from an aging population you can easily see how quickly this shortfall can become critical for patient care."

The Royal College of General Practitioners' Chairwoman Prof. Helen Stokes-Lampard has called the differences in the number of GPs "shocking" and "surprising". She believes the health service in England is 6,000 doctors short of what it needs - it currently has just over 34,000 - and the problem meant care was "not safe" in some places.

Robert Eggleston, said, "it is clear that we need more GPs in Mid Sussex. An urgent plan must be put in place to address the GP shortage. This includes: addressing the shortage of trained GPs; ensuring we have an immigration strategy that allows us to recruit easily, especially from continental Europe; and crucially making sure that planning applications for new housing meets the shortfall in health provision."

"In addition, the Government must recognise that there is inequality of access to GPs by encouraging health staff to move into the area. When local GP practices try to recruit, potential staff may be deterred by high housing costs and inadequate places for their families in schools. This can only be addressed by developing a long term strategy to 'invest in people' by providing more affordable housing, in particular allocating housing for key workers, and additional school places.

"Finally, the Government needs to look again at nurse recruitment and reward, as having nurse-practitioners in GP practices helps to extend the reach of the GPs we do have. Nursing training has been badly affected by the removal of bursaries and these should be restored."