A ‘MELTDOWN’ of GP services could be on the cards, a Rugby parliamentary candidate has warned.
Terry White of the town’s Green Party fears that the dwindling number of GPs combined with the increase in patients brought by new housing developments will make it harder for people to register with a family doctor.
His fears were sparked by comments at a community forum, where the chair of the NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and pays for health services in the area, said there were already too few GPs in Rugby.
Dr Adrian Canale-Parola told the forum: “The Hillmorton area of the town has a particular problem and there will be increased pressure from the Mast Site development.”
Mr White said: “I was shocked to learn that the GP service, especially for the east of Rugby, was in such a poor state.
“It is clear that little of the money ring-fenced by the government for the NHS is being used to protect frontline services like GPs.
“The ill-thought-out plans for the Mast Site could easily send the GP service in Rugby into crisis.”
Responding to Mr White’s concerns, Dr Canale-Parola added: “Demand on health care and GPs in particular are at unprecedented levels.
“GPs across Rugby are working extremely hard to meet this demand but it is well documented that, among other things, more GPs need to be recruited.
“We know that there are a significant number of doctors approaching retirement age while an increasing number of GPs only want to work part-time, so we need to plan ahead.”
He added that the situation in Rugby was no different to that in towns and cities across the country.
MP Mark Pawsey said: “I fully appreciate local concerns regarding the need for a GP practice in the eastern side of Rugby, and it my expectation that additional health services will become available to meet this need and those which will arise as the Rugby Radio Site is developed.
“The Government is working to improve recruitment, retention and return to practice in primary and community care, and is requiring 50% of trainee doctors to enter GP training programmes.
“Ministers have also promised to support thousands more GP practices to stay open longer, giving millions of patients better access to their doctor.”
A Rugby GP told the Observer last August that strains on GPs were causing newly qualified doctors to avoid GP partnerships, and the older generation to retire as soon as possible.
Dr Isabel Draper of Whitehall Medical Practice 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.”