Lisa Nandy MP: thousands more GPs are needed in Wigan and across Greater Manchester

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Thousands of people in Wigan and across Greater Manchester are waiting over a month to see their GP, according to recent NHS data.

Around 15 million people across England arranged to see their GP in January but 1.6 million appointments – almost 1 in 10 – took place over 28 days after being booked, with another 1.4 million occurring between 22 and 28 days.

NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board had the fourth highest number of people in the country waiting 28 weeks or more to see a doctor, a backlog of more than 70,000 patients.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last week another major poll from NHS England showed that around 1 in 10 people in Greater Manchester were unable to contact their doctor, receptionist or another clinician at their registered practice the last time they tried.

Wigan MP Lisa NandyWigan MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy

Despite the heroic efforts of GPs and practice staff, it seems clear that the Government has left General Practice dangerously over-stretched.

Millions more people are registered with practices now than a decade ago. Yet with at least 2,000 fewer GPs and the loss of almost 1,800 practices under the Tories, the number of patients each doctor is now responsible for is unsafe and unsustainable. GPs are also reducing their hours and their days due to burnout.

For too many people the front door to the NHS, access to a GP, is closed. Delayed access to GP appointments means patients wait in pain worried about their health and it risks their conditions becoming harder and more expensive to treat. It is also heaping more pressure on our already overstretched A&E departments with 18% of patients attending A&E last year because they were unable to see a GP.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last year the Government announced its long overdue primary care recovery plan. It includes some initiatives which Labour has been calling for such as allowing patients to self-refer where appropriate and extending the role of pharmacies. But health experts say the plan offers little more than tinkering around the edges and it comes with no new funding.

In power Labour will respond to the Government’s managed decline of General Practice. We will build an NHS fit for the future with a 10-year plan of change and modernisation. This will include training the next generation of NHS staff and reforming primary care to deliver better access to GPs; moving care out of hospital and into the community; harnessing technology to put people in control of their own healthcare; and shifting the focus to prevention.

We will train 7,500 more doctors and 700 more district nurses each year, 5,000 more health visitors and recruit thousands more mental health staff to help ease the pressure on practices and free up GP appointments.

We will bring back the family doctor so patients can easily book appointments to see their regular doctor in the manner they choose and utilise technology and increase booking options to end the 8am scramble for appointments.

General Practice is the bedrock of our NHS. Labour’s plan will get it back on its feet, give doctors the support they desperately need and ensure patients can see a GP when they need to.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.