A Manchester MP has slammed GP waiting times claiming that those waiting more than 48 hours to see their GP are fed up of David Cameron’s ‘broken promises to protect the NHS’.
MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, and Oldham East and Saddleworth MP, Debbie Abrahams have welcomed Labour leader Ed Miliband’s promise to reinstate the guaranteed 48-hour GP appointment scheme.
Since 2010 those able to get GP appointments within 48 hours has fallen from 80% to just 40%.
Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, said: “I’m backing Labour’s plan to raise standards, put patients first and guarantee them an appointment with a local GP within 48 hours or on the same day if they need to be seen quickly.
“People in Trafford are fed up of David Cameron’s broken promises to protect the NHS. It just goes to show that the Tories can’t be trusted with our National Health Service.”
Labour claim they will give GP surgeries an extra £100million a year to achieve the 48-hour GP appointment scheme – enough to pay for an additional three million appointments every year.
Ms Abrahams, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and a former chair of Rochdale Primary Care Trust, said: “Under this Government it’s become harder to see a GP in Oldham and Saddleworth with people having to wait longer and longer.
“In recent months I have received an increased number of cases about access to local GP services, especially in Saddleworth.
“Across the country more people have to wait over 48 hours for an appointment and over a quarter of the public say they can’t get an appointment in the same week.
“This simply isn’t good enough for families who depend on their local GP service and it’s also putting huge strain on our A&Es which are also now in crisis.”
The NHS Oldham report showed that the Royal Oldham Hospital missed the four-hour waiting target more than 38% of the time.
Ms Abrahams emphasised that the reason for the waiting time increases is not due to lack of effort from A&E staff but from an increased strain on services .
She said: “Staff are working hard to manage additional demand. I saw for myself how hard they are working on my visit to A&E in December.
“It’s really not surprising that A&Es are under increased pressure when it’s so hard to get to see your own GP and people are forced to go to their nearest A&E.”
The House of Commons Library estimates that more than 800,000 people go to A&E each year because they can’t secure a GP appointment – costing around £66million a year.
The King’s Fund, an independent charity that works to improve health care in the UK, estimates that £238million a year could be saved through avoiding A&E admissions.
Ms Abrahams said: “Over the longer term, ensuring better access to primary and community care can lead to dramatic savings by reducing the need for more expensive hospital care.
“So this GP access guarantee is not only about improving healthcare but is also a key part of our plan to help the NHS survive.
“We will fund this by saving £100million from scrapping the wasteful competition rules that force the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to put all health services work out to tender with private healthcare providers which was actually the real agenda for this Tory-led government all along.”
Picture courtesy of Michael Tam, with thanks