New figures from NHS England show that 18% of people in the NHS North East London Integrated Care Board, covering Tower Hamlets, 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, 714, 126 GP appointments in London were held a month late, as patients struggle to see a GP when they need one.
In June alone, 17, 806 appointments were held a month late in the NHS North East London Integrated Care Board, which covers Tower Hamlets.
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 62% appointments in NHS North East London Integrated Care Board aren’t held face-to-face.
The Government has admitted it is failing to meet its manifesto pledge to recruit more GPs. Under the Conservatives, the number of GPs 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.
This is why Tower Hamlets Labour is backing the Labour Party’s call for more GP access to benefit their residents across Tower Hamlets.
Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, Wes Streeting MP 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.”
Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam said:
“I hear from concerned residents across the borough who are struggling to see a GP because this Government in chaos is failing to staff our health service.
“We need more GPs but the Conservatives have once again over-promised and under-delivered. This is all the more concerning as the Cost of Living Crisis hits hard and the devastating choice between heating and eating starts affecting people both physically and mentally.
“People in Tower Hamlets 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.”
- GP 48 hour target scrapped in 2010: [ARCHIVED CONTENT] Access to GPs and extended hours : Department of Health – Health care (nationalarchives.gov.uk)
- Public satisfaction with GP services:
British Social Attitudes Survey 28 (2010): Downloads | BSA 28 | NatCen
- NHS data on timing of appointments and the delivery method (face-to-face/virtual):
- Sajid Javid admitted that the Government is breaking its manifesto promise to hire 6,000 additional GPs.