Horsham Liberal Democrats are horrified to hear that patients of the Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG have the second worst access to a GP in England.
The news was released on 19th January by the BBC, following its own analysis of data released by the NHS in September.
The main points are that in the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, there is one GP for every 2,977 patients, whilst in the area with the best cover, one GP serves 1,200 patients (the average is one GP for 1,734 patients). The only area worse off than ours is Swale in Kent, with one GP for 3,300 patients.
Getting access to your GP should not be a postcode lottery. The clear shortage of GPs is leaving patients stranded, waiting weeks for appointments when they could have serious health issues.
One of the key problems with the NHS ten year plan was that it was completely undermined by a lack of serious workforce planning. It is vital the Government produce a national workforce strategy, ensuring people can access GPs when they need them.
The Government must look at the long term solutions in training more GPs and ensuring we retain the ones we have. Whilst there is inadequate planning for the NHS workforce, the NHS ten-year plan will not be deliverable.
Horsham Liberal Democrats have written to our local MP expressing our shock and anger at this news, challenging him to respond to this question; ‘What do you intend to do about such inequity of provision, given the risk to the well-being of your constituents?’
This Constituency should be one of the best places to live in the entire country.
However, despite all the advantages we have, including a relatively buoyant economy, we have seen significant house-building take place, with almost no infrastructure, in particular health infrastructure, to support the new residents.
We have an ageing population, but the new homes also bring additional young families to the area, also in need of medical facilities of all types.
The acute hospitals are keen to deliver more services closer to where people live, which should save money, but without investment in GP services in our area, people will continue to end up in A&E, where staff and services are already under strain.
The Liberal Democrats want to see Horsham Hospital becoming more integrated into local health provision, taking the pressure off local GPs, but this will need investment and innovation.
This problem needs the urgent attention of our MP and the Government, and Horsham Liberal Democrats have asked for an urgent meeting to discuss what can be done.
Unfortunately, the Government is too preoccupied with Brexit to give its attention to anything else at the moment. Britain’s services are being starved of both cash and intellectual analysis by this ongoing crisis.
On behalf of Horsham Liberal Democrats, Comptons Lane, Horsham