Concerns are growing over what residents say is a lack of GPs in Horsham.
Many people are reporting difficulties in making an appointment and having to wait increasingly long times to see a doctor.
Horsham district councillor Christine Costin said: “Insufficient GPs is a problem all over Britain but it is especially serious in Horsham.
“Our town is the second worst place for getting a doctor’s appointment in the country. Locally we have seen massive developments so our population has exploded without sufficient infrastructure. Therefore it is worrying that there has been a further decrease in GP numbers across the country.”
She spoke out after a report from the medical publication Pulse stated that, nationally, family doctors are seeing up to 60 patients a day - double the number they consider safe - as services struggle with staff shortages and a rising demand for care.
Christine Costin said that the problem locally was down to “a failure in planning over many years and insufficient funding.” She added: “It’s dreadful in Horsham when you try and ring a doctor, it’s so hard to get an appointment or even just get through.”
According to a report from the BBC earlier this year, Horsham and Mid Sussex was said to be the second worst area in the country for GP access.
The area was reported to have 2,997 patients per GP – more than double the best area in the country - Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire.
However, a spokeswoman for the Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning group - which is responsible for paying for local NHS care - said there were 166 GPs in the Horsham and Mid Sussex area and 243,278 patients registered with them.
She said health officials were developing new ways of working “to meet growing demand for primary care and address our GP recruitment challenges.
“Patients are living longer and with increasingly complex needs, which means we need to adapt how we care for them.”
She added: “We are already working very differently to ensure we make the most of the wider NHS workforce. For example in Horsham and Mid Sussex: Communities of Practice brings together NHS and social care staff into integrated multidisciplinary teams who work closely with GPs, local hospital staff and others in the community to ensure patients with complex or long-term health conditions get the support they need and can proactively look after themselves.
“The Paramedic Practitioners home visiting service works across a number of GP practices to provide urgent home visits to patients with frailty and has seen a positive impact on patient experience and clinical outcomes.
“Both of these projects aim to reduce demand on GP-led care”
She added that officials were currently assessing “population growth and how we respond to that.
“Despite experiencing challenges of increased demand with fewer resources, local GP practices ensure appointments are available daily, with urgent cases taking priority.
“From October last year all also offer registered patients access to both routine and urgent appointments at evenings and weekends.”