England is facing a growing shortage of GPs, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. There are almost 2,000 fewer GPs than five years ago. This comes as many people are struggling to book an appointment with their GP, with services increasingly under pressure from rising demand. We have all heard stories of our friends and families frustration in trying to get through the automated system at their own GP practice to try and get an appointment.
The figures show there is now just one GP per 2,038 people in England in June 2021.
Sandwell Liberal Democrats said the alarming figures, based on analysis by the House of Commons Library, revealed the stark “postcode lottery” facing GP patients. The party is calling on the government to invest in GP services to ensure people can get a doctors’ appointment when they need one.
Further analysis by the British Medical Association (BMA) shows a dismal picture overall for GPs, with there being the equivalent of over 1,900 fewer fully qualified, full-time GPs now than there were in 2015.
The picture is similarly bleak when compared to the UK’s international neighbours. OECD stats from 2019 show that the UK’s average of three doctors per 1,000 people ranks below the likes of Hungary and the Czech Republic, and only just ahead of Brazil and Mexico.
Mark Smith, Liberal Democrat Chair for Sandwell said:
“The Conservative government are badly letting down both GPs and patients in Sandwell, residents deserve a fair deal. Instead of fixing the GP shortage crisis, the Conservatives are making it worse by failing to train the new doctors we desperately need.
“The worsening GP shortage has given rise to a postcode lottery, with our hard-working GPs overstretched and people left waiting too long for treatment or even an appointment.
Families rely on being able to see a GP when they or their children fall sick to get advice, access treatment and get well again. The government must invest more in our GP practices and train up more doctors, to ensure patients get the fair deal they deserve.”