12% of people in Somerset Integrated Care System (ICS) who try to make a GP appointment don’t get one, whilst 14,495 people are forced to wait over a month. New figures from NHS England show that 12% of people in Somerset ICS could not get an appointment to see or speak to a GP or nurse the last time they tried. Meanwhile, data from the NHS reveals that in the past year 1,546,092 GP appointments in Somerset ICS were held a month late, as patients struggle to see a GP when they need one. In June alone, 14,495 appointments were held a month late in Somerset ICS. When the Conservatives entered government in 2010, they scrapped the guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours. Over the twelve years of Conservative government since then, public satisfaction with GP services has fallen by 39 percentage points – from 77 per cent in Labour’s last year in government, to just 38 per cent now, the lowest level since the survey began in 1983. Data from the NHS also finds that 33% of appointments in Somerset Integrated Care System (ICS) aren’t held face-to-face. The Government has admitted it is failing to meet its manifesto pledge to recruit more GP’s. Under the Conservatives, the number of GP’s is falling and hundreds of GP practices have closed since the 2019 general election. As a result, many ‘GP appointments’ held today are not with a GP. A BBC Panorama investigation in June found that unqualified staff at Operose Health practices, the UK’s largest GP chain, are seeing patients without the required supervision, instead of doctors.
Somerset Labour’s Cllr Leigh Redman, said: “People in Somerset are struggling to see a GP because this Conservative Government is failing to staff our health service. People in Somerset deserve a Labour government that will give the NHS what it needs to see people on time, not more of the same from the Conservatives.”
Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “Patients are finding it impossible to get a GP appointment when they need one. The Conservatives have closed hundreds of practices since the 2019 election and are breaking their manifesto promise to hire more GPs. Labour will recruit and retain the staff the NHS needs to treat patients on time.”