Harlow Labour leader slams Tory councillor over comments on GPs and NHS

Politics / Sun 10th Oct 2021 at 07:10pm

THE LEADER of the Harlow Labour group has criticised the comments regarding GP access by Conservative councillor Nick Churchill.

Councillor Chris Vince said: “I was bemused by the letters written by Cllr Churchill berating our GPs and then going on to criticise our NHS.  Has Cllr Churchill forgotten that it is his party who have been in power for the past 11 years?  Perhaps he’s forgotten that it was his government that closed NHS walk in centres? Or that it was his government that shut many A&E departments? The A&E at our own hospital, PAH, now serves a huge area, as these departments at nearby hospitals have closed.

Also, does he not realise the power of his words? The problem with comments such as those from Cllr Churchill are that they do nothing to solve the problem, they only serve to make GPs and GP practice staff feel further demoralised and it could be said, more likely to experience abuse. 

I am also disappointed that GPs have not moved towards face-to-face appointments.  However, I know this is in part down to a shortage of GPs and the fact that some GPs are being asked to help out in understaffed hospitals – but the lack of staff is nothing new. 

Prior to the pandemic, the government made a commitment to recruit 6,000 GPs and 26,000 support staff – a commitment they are yet to make good on. 

Despite the lack of staff, figures released by NHS Digital last week showed that GPs have conducted 25.5million appointments in August, compared to 23.8million in the same month of 2019. 

Commenting on the levels of unsustainable workload, Prof Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has recently said: “We simply do not have enough GPs to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population, with increasingly complex conditions, on top of managing the fallout and work backlog from the pandemic. If general practice collapses, the rest of the NHS will follow not far behind it.” 

Since 2010 we have seen an increase in A&E waiting times, despite the Tories lowering waiting time targets – they then failed to meet their own targets. Every worker in the NHS is being asked to work harder and harder, while at the same time pushing the government for a pay rise – check out the #NHSpay15 campaign or go here.

“The strain that has been put on our NHS and the workers within it has meant that when we did face such a terrible pandemic, we were underprepared to deal with it, and fell far behind the majority of our European neighbours. Things could have been different – there was a choice, and there still is”. 

It’s interesting that Cllr Churchill is now moaning about the situation his own party have created due to over a decades’ worth of funding cuts to our NHS.  Has he only just realised how bad things are?

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  My advice to Cllr Churchill would be to vote for Labour in the next General Election if he wants to see the truly 21st century health care this country so desperately needs. 

His Tory friends in Westminster have sadly let us all down and berating doctors about their perceived failings isn’t going to help.
Chris Vince

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8 Comments for Harlow Labour leader slams Tory councillor over comments on GPs and NHS:

2021-10-10 19:44:06

Perhaps he should read the piece about the widow in Brentwood.

Chris Vince
2021-10-10 19:56:21

Perhaps you should read paragraph 4

2021-10-10 20:13:38

"Despite the lack of staff, figures released by NHS Digital last week showed that GPs have conducted 25.5million appointments in August, compared to 23.8million in the same month of 2019. " a bit skewed that figure as the majority were proberly phone appointments, you cant get a face to face apointment at all its a joke!!

2021-10-10 20:17:55

labour wonder why they are not in power with comments like that, gp's need to go back to face to face appointments, the rest of the country has opened up why not gp's, please answer that harlow labour leader.

2021-10-10 21:49:28

" please answer that harlow labour leader." He did in paragraphs 2, 4 and 5 above. Also there is this: https://hunter-ahp.com/why-is-there-a-gp-shortage-in-the-uk/ "There are several reasons for the fall in GP numbers, from an aging and burnt out workforce to struggles with recruitment, and of course, the small issue of Brexit mixed with a global pandemic. " Perhaps instead of asking the Harlow Labour leader questions that he has no responsibility for, you should be asking why this Conservative government is blaming doctors etc. It is a Conservative government that is responsible to fix the problem but as with all the other problems they just blame someone else.

Mark Gough
2021-10-10 23:55:57

Clearly Chris misses the point. People want GPs to go back to delivering more face to face appointments, not telephone or video ones. As for NHS funding issues, many hospitals are crippled by the PFI debts on deals signed under the last Labour Government. The shortages of front line Doctors and nurses comes from the ridiculous cap on training places set at 7,500, and recently raised to 10,000. This needs to be scrapped as it is single handled damaging the need to tackle the 100,000 shortage of both across the NHS. An issue neither the Government or Opposition have done anything about.

Kay Morrison
2021-10-11 08:48:02

Well done, Chris. Most people are baffled by and ashamed of the Conservatives' attacks on our GP surgeries and our NHS. It seems to be a concerted, co-ordinated assault, maybe an attempt to add to the damage caused by the tory government. You said it well. We should support our embattled NHS staff who've been phenomenal during the pandemic. They were there when we were in crisis, carrying on in dangerous circumstances, often to their own detriment. Thank you, NHS. No thanks, Conservatives.

2021-10-12 07:58:33

Most Tory leaders have private health insurance don't they, so how can they understand how the plight the rest of us face and the problems we experience re the NHS, A&E, Dentistry and the consequences? Look at the total failures of government during the on set of the pandemic, government caught dithering and totally unprepared, blind to the lessons from SARs and unable to understand the dangers of putting COVID infected people into care homes. The uk was only saved from worse disaster by the Herculean work of NHS and care staff. Online appointments saved lives and got treatment to people and in case no one is aware, COVID and flu are still out there, there's still a massive shortage of medical and care staff so online continues to be necessary, yet still, as our family has found recently, in a real emergency the response has been rapid and excellent but I think perhaps we have to thank the ambulance service for that rather than government efficiency or understanding.

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