Thursday, December 2, 2021

General practitioner patients in England face a “zip code lottery” due to the lack of trained doctors

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In some areas, the number of patients per GP has increased by around 40 percent since 2015

Patients in England are having difficulty getting a doctor’s appointment due to the shortage of doctors.

Many face a “zip code lottery” for visiting a family doctor, and new analysis has shown that the hardest hit areas of the country are treated as the best by half of the doctors.

There is an average of one GP for every 2,038 residents across England, an increase of 5 percent since 2015. But there are also big differences across the country, with some areas seeing an increase of around 40 percent in the number of patients per GP over the same period.

This means that Hull now has one GP for 2,821 people, more than double the 1,279 people per GP in Wirral.

The Liberal Democrats, who commissioned the analysis, have asked the government to train more general practitioners.

Liberal Democrats’ health spokeswoman Munira Wilson MP said, “These numbers show a zip code lottery of care where people struggle to get medical appointments or wait weeks to be seen.

“But instead of addressing the GP shortage crisis, the Conservatives are making it worse by not training the new doctors we desperately need.”

She added, “Families need to see a general practitioner when they or their children get sick for advice, treatment and recovery. The government needs to invest more in our primary care practices and train more doctors to ensure patients get the fair deal they deserve. “

The areas with the highest population per GP are Fylde and Wyre (2,833), Hull (2,761), Calderdale (2,606), Thurrock (2,592) and Portsmouth (2,559).

The five lowest are Liverpool (1,614), Oxfordshire (1,688), Wirral (1,720), West Suffolk (1,731) and East Staffordshire (1,745).

The figures are based on research by the House of Commons Library on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.

Statistics do not include aspiring general practitioners and are based on the population in each area rather than the number of patients registered.

Recent analyzes by the British Medical Association (BMA) show that there are more than 1,800 fewer fully qualified full-time physicians (FTE) today than in 2015.

Between June 2020 and July 2021, the number of family doctor partners fell by 918.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said: “The number of full-time GPs increased between March 2016 and March 2021, and last year a record number of GPs began training to become GPs.

“We are grateful for the relentless efforts of GPs during the pandemic and have invested £ 270 million to expand GP capacity, on top of £ 1.5 billion by 2023/24.

“We are striving to increase the number of training positions for general practitioners to 4,000 per year and to create 50 million additional appointments annually in order to improve patient access.”

Additional coverage by the press association

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