Richer residents in Bucks are expected to live more than a decade longer than those living in poorer areas of the county, according to a councillor.
This week Bucks county councillor for Aylesbury South West, Niknam Hussain, raised concerns over NHS plans to establish networks of GPs in Bucks, which will work together to provide more streamlined care for patients.
During a meeting of the health and adult social care select committee on Tuesday (March 19) the councillor asked NHS bosses how the new model would help to reduce difference in life expectancy between deprived and non-deprived areas in Bucks – as it is currently an average of 12 years.
Cllr Hussain also raised concerns over the “problematic” GP system, as patients often see a different doctor every time they visit a surgery – making it difficult for them to keep track of long term conditions.
He said: “The GP landscape is changing. Before, my GP knew my children from birth until now, one of them is 25.
“Recently I have not seen the same GP from one appointment to the next, which means long term trends are not being seen – how are you building that into the model?
“Secondly, one of the biggest key performance indicators must be to reduce the life expectancy between deprived and non-deprived areas.
“There’s a 12-year difference between the life expectancy in the richest area and the most deprived areas in Bucks. That’s more than a decade of life. Where is that being built in?”
Penny Macdonald, chair of the federation of GPs from across the county, FedBucks, said recruitment and retention of staff in general practice “is a real crisis” however the PCN plans aim to introduce new roles, such as community paramedics, to help support staff.
She said: “I would hope going forward if we can improve the working day, we can attract more medical graduates into general practice and keep them.
“That’s part of the problem at the moment, we can’t do either. There’s a lot of falling off the top end because of pressures around retirement we are really struggling to keep up with.”