GP postcode lottery worsens with just one family doctor per 2,700 patients
The number of patients per GP across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) has grown to over 2,700, shocking new figures have revealed. This makes the BLMK Clinical Commissioning Group the 6th worst in the country (out of 106 groups) in terms of patients per GP.
The analysis by the Liberal Democrats, based on research from the House of Commons Library, has exposed the growing shortage of family doctors that is leaving people in Bedford Borough struggling to get appointments. Since September 2015, the number of GPs in the region has fallen from 440 to 397. Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to invest in GP services to ensure people can get a doctors' appointment when they need one.
Looking nationally, since June 2017, the number of fully qualified GPs excluding trainees has fallen by 1,343 across the country, despite a government promise to hire an extra 6,000 GPs by 2024. Over the same period, the number of registered patients has soared by over 3.1 million, as growing demand puts pressure on overstretched local health services.
Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Christine McHugh said "Our health services are at breaking point. People are struggling to get appointments and GPs are under more pressure than ever. We need a proper plan to recruit the GPs the country desperately needs and prevent so many doctors leaving or retiring early. It is not about pay but workload: the government need to make the profession attractive again for graduates by improving GP working conditions.
"I am very concerned that BLMK has one of the worst patient to GP rates in the country. We have been campaigning for more provision and access for residents but the government are simply not listening. They are breaking yet another electoral promise and letting our residents down again."