This week in Parliament Derek Twigg MP raised the shortage of GPs and the difficulty some constituents are experiencing in getting timely appointments and especially getting an appointment with a GP of their choice. Derek had already raised the matter with NHS England and put down Parliamentary Questions.
Derek said “This is a complacent reply from the Secretary of State who avoided answering the question, demonstrating that he and the Tory led government have no answers to the problem. Labour, if it wins the 2015 General Election, has pledged to increase the numbers of doctors and nurses as it did so when last in government. I will continue to raise this very important matter on behalf of my constituents.”
Derek Twigg (Halton) (Lab): We have a shortage of GPs in Halton. Constituents tell me it is more difficult to get an appointment, and in recent months, two GPs have told me that there are major problems with GP services in Halton and the country as a whole. Despite what the Secretary of State says about increased numbers of GPs that is not happening in Halton. What is he doing to address the problem, particularly in areas of great deprivation, such as Halton?
Mr Hunt: There is pressure throughout the NHS because there are nearly 1 million more over-65s than there were four years ago, which puts pressure on GPs, as it does on any department or hospital providing elective care. However, this is not just about getting an appointment; it is also about ensuring that GPs have personal responsibility for the patients on their list and are accountable for the care of some of the most vulnerable people. We have brought back named GPs with personal responsibility for over-75s, and I hope the hon. Gentleman welcomes our going further and bringing it back for everyone.