FUNDING cuts to doctors’ surgeries in Colchester are biting hard – with almost a 7% drop per patient since 2019.
House of Commons Library research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats found budgets for the NHS Integrated Care Board for Suffolk and North Essex amounted to a 6.6% decrease in real terms, with spending only rising to just under £204million from their 2018/19 figure of £178.5million – this despite a large increase in population.
Against a background of growing demand for services and patients often having to wait weeks to get an appointment, the Lib Dems are calling for a legal right for patients to see their GP within seven days, or 24-hours if in urgent need. They want funding to increase the number of fully-qualified GPs by 8,000 nationally with an initiative to boost recruitment and retain more experienced doctors.
Martin Goss, parliamentary candidate for Colchester, said: “Families and pensioners are currently struggling to see their GP despite being in need of medical advice. It is leaving people waiting in pain or simply anxious about not getting the care they need.
“It is not right that our community is suffering the consequences of this Conservative government’s neglect of local health services.
“Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his failing government is totally out of touch. Seeing your GP should be at the heart of our NHS. That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a legal right to see a GP within seven days or 24-hours if in urgent need.”