Over 6,500 Wait More Than Two Weeks for Putney GP Appointment

Fleur Anderson describes situation as 'utterly unacceptable'

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December 15, 2022

Recently published data from the NHS has revealed that this October over 6,500 people in Putney have had to wait more than two weeks to get an appointment with a GP.

886 people in the area were required to wait over a month.

The revelation comes at a time when more people are waiting a month for a GP appointment than at any time since records began in 2017 and nurses are taking strike action.

Fleur Anderson MP said, “It is utterly unacceptable that thousands of people in Putney are waiting over 2 weeks – in some cases over a month - for a GP appointment. The stress and fear caused by such delays in being assessed for what may be serious health conditions is frightening and totally unacceptable.

"This is a consequence of systemic mismanagement and underfunding of our NHS by this Conservative government over the last 13 years. I will continue to fight in Parliament for a remedy to this appalling situation, but the truth is that we need a Labour Government to begin to repair the years of destruction the Tories have wrought on our health system.”

Almost two million people in England had to wait more than 28 days in October 2022, while a further 4.3 million had to wait more than two weeks.

At the same time, the number of GPs has fallen to a record low, with 4,600 GPs cut since 2013.

While some patients prefer to hold appointments over the phone, many are frustrated at not being able to see their doctor in person, and just 22% of patients are given a choice in the type of appointment they have. One in seven people who try to speak to a nurse or GP were unable to get an appointment at all last year.

Patients are increasingly unable to see the doctor of their choice, with two in every three patients rarely or never speaking to their preferred doctor, up from just half in 2018.

Ms Anderson continued, “Staff in our NHS are on their knees - overworked, stressed and still recovering from the long-lasting impact of the Covid pandemic. Healthcare professionals deserve more than just our applause. They deserve to work in a properly funded and protected healthcare system.

“Longer GP wait times impact the entire NHS pipeline. With many serious illnesses, early diagnosis is key. Undetected and untreated conditions will worsen without early treatment, leading to additional financial pressures on the NHS down the line. Our system is past breaking point. We need change now.”

Labour claims that it can fund the return of the family doctor by measures such as abolishing non-dom tax status. This is disputed by the Conservatives who say the move would actually result in a reduction in the tax take.

Under Labour’s plans, GP practices would be provided with incentives to offer patients continuity of care, so doctors must take into account patients’ preferences.

Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Health Secretary said, “Patients in Putney are finding it impossible to see a GP when they need to. Among those 6500 people waiting more than two weeks, there will be conditions going undiagnosed until it is too late.

“12 years of Conservative failure to train the staff our NHS needs has left it with thousands fewer GPs, and patients are paying the price. Meanwhile the Conservatives are protecting the non-dom tax status, allowing people who live in Britain to pay their taxes overseas. We need doctors and nurses, not non-doms.”

Health Minister Steve Barclay said in the House of Commons recently, “It is worth reminding the House that there are 3% more doctors this year than last year. As I have said, we have 2,300 more full-time GPs, and we are recruiting more.”


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