Pawsey hits back over GP claims - The Rugby Observer

Pawsey hits back over GP claims

Rugby Editorial 13th Aug, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

MP Mark Pawsey has defended his party’s treatment of the NHS in response to an open letter from GPs claiming surgeries across Warwickshire are at breaking point.

But his response was dismissed as ‘the standard party line’ by a local GP who signed the letter.

As reported in last week’s Observer, the letter – which was signed by 87 general practitioners, 48 nurses and 61 practice staff from across the county – made a desperate plea for increased government support, saying surgeries were under unsustainable pressure from a rising workload and reduced funding.

Mr Pawsey said: “The government protected NHS funding when it came to power despite the massive financial challenges facing the country.

“There are now 1,000 more GPs than in 2010 and GPs now undertake 40million appointments each year.

“In addition the Department of Health is developing a package of changes that will place general practice at the heart of the provision of health services within the community.

“This is reflected in changes to the 2014/2015 General Medical Services contract which will free up more time for GPs to spend with their patients and also why the government is also investing £50m into a challenge fund to support out of hours GP access.”

But GP Isabel Draper of Whitehall Medical Practice said despite Mr Pawsey’s claims there had not been an overall improvement.

“Changes in the General Medical Services contract would free up GPs’ time – except that this has been taken up by other changes which we can only decline if we are prepared to accept the considerable loss of income that would follow – income which pays our staff wages and runs the building.”

She said that the strains on GPs were causing newly qualified doctors to turn away from GP partnerships, and the older generation to retire as soon as possible – including herself.

“I thought I would be working through to my 60s, but this year’s experience has changed all that and I’ve handed in my resignation sooner than I thought.” she said.

“I cannot be optimistic about the current situation. I’m even hearing that doctors from the Indian subcontinent who emigrated to Britain some years ago are now going back as they can’t stand it anymore.”

Coun Claire Edwards, who will stand for Labour against Mr Pawsey in next year’s general election, pointed to the 2014 NHS survey that showed over one in 10 people in Rugby and Coventry had to wait a week or more to get an appointment with their GP, and 43 per cent said they only saw their preferred GP some of the time or never.

“Rugby is the fastest growing borough in the West Midlands but access to GP services are clearly not keeping up with demand. In Brownsover we are crying out for a new medical centre but after three years are still waiting,” she said.

“When is this government going to stop blaming someone else and sort out the extra GPs we need in Rugby? Labour has pledged the resources to ensure a GP appointment within 48 hours – a guaranteed investment of £100 million.”

– Turn to page 16 for the latest edition of Mr Pawsey’s Westminster Diary.

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