New data shows full scale of GP shortage in Bucks

Here's further context as to why residents have an uphill battle seeing their GPs in Aylesbury

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 2:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 2:14 pm

New data reveals that Bucks is one of the worst hit NHS areas when it comes to countrywide GP shortages.

Information accurate up to June 2021, reveals there is now just one GP per 2,256 people in the county, the national average is one GP per 2,038 people.

A slew of recent complaints on social media have highlighted the infuriating difficulties citizens in the county are facing booking a GP appointment.

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GPs are more overstretched in Bucks than most regions in England

Recent figures on surgeries in the Bucks Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) shows it to be one of the areas carrying out the fewest face-to-face appointments.

Most CCGs in England carry out a greater percentage of its GP appointments in person, when compared to Bucks.

The number of GPs employed in the area has stayed at the exact same level over the past five years despite the rising population and new housing developments we see across our area.

Aylesbury Liberal Democrats analysed the new data which is based on House of Commons Library figures.

The party believes the new data highlights a “postcode lottery” patients face when hoping to see a GP.

Data from the British Medical Association reveals that there are the equivalent of over 1,900 fewer fully qualified, full-time GPs now than there were in 2015.

Steven Lambert, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for Aylesbury said: “The Conservative government are badly letting down both GPs and patients. Aylesbury residents deserve a fair deal. Instead of fixing the GP shortage crisis, the Conservatives are making it worse by failing to train the new doctors we desperately need.”

“The worsening GP shortage has given rise to a postcode lottery, with our hard-working GPs overstretched and people left waiting too long for treatment or even an

appointment.

“I have seen these issues first hand, finding it virtually impossible to get an appointment at my local GP’s surgery.”

Susan Morgan, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health and adult social care at Bucks Council, added: “Families rely on being able to see a GP when they or their children fall sick to get advice, access treatment and get well again.

“This lack of investment will hit the most vulnerable families in Aylesbury the hardest, with lower income households and those with long term medical conditions stuck in

endless waits to get treatment”

“The government must invest more in our GP practices and train up more doctors, to ensure patients get the fair deal they deserve and Buckinghamshire Council must do everything in their power to encourage more new doctors to practice in our county.”

A Bucks CCG spokesperson addressed the concerns raised when asked about waiting times and current GP practices at Bucks surgeries, saying: "GPs and practice staff across Buckinghamshire have been working extremely hard during the pandemic and services have always been open to patients. All primary healthcare professionals, including GPs, have been at work in practices throughout.

"There has been greater emphasis on remote assessments and patients have been invited for face-to-face appointments when clinically needed. GP practices have never stopped working or closed their doors as a service; they have simply been operating in a Covid-safe way to keep staff and patients safe, and these measures continue to be necessary.

"GPs and practice staff have been under immense pressure during this time, with demand for services above what is normally expected for this time of year. In August 2021 practices arranged a total of 206, 735 appointments with patients in Buckinghamshire. This is an increase of more than 3,000 from August 2019 (pre-pandemic). We know this means telephone lines can be busy, and appreciate this may sometimes be frustrating for patients.

"In addition to their day-to day workload GP practices have played a vital role in the Covid vaccination rollout, helping to deliver 779, 942 vaccines in Buckinghamshire (up to 26 September - these figures include first and second doses) within the timescales required.

"They are now supporting the booster COVID vaccination programme as well as running the usual flu vaccination programme. Primary care staff have also been impacted by Covid in terms of illness and isolation like everyone else, which can create shortages.

"Despite this, more face-to-face appointments are now available compared to this time last year, for anyone who is assessed to need one. This judgement is based on the clinical need of the patient and whether an individual may have a condition which requires greater support."