I understand there have been difficulties in getting GP appointments for some recently, and controversy around surgeries encouraging over-the-phone appointments rather than face-to-face. GPs play an essential role in our communities, and like many of their colleagues in other NHS services, they are often overstretched. We need more GPs as many are leaving practice and retiring. Nationally, there has been a net loss of nearly 2000 serving GPs since 2015.
Everybody should be able to get a timely GP appointment. I am also very concerned about NHS waiting times and backlogs. Normal pathways and referrals for illness should have been pursued throughout Coronavirus lockdowns. But even before the pandemic, systemic underfunding and staffing shortages had weakened our healthcare infrastructure. I believe this was a major reason we were unprepared for the pandemic. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Labour’s Shadow Health Team to press government on this, as well as continuing to meet with local NHS trust representatives.