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Letter to Editor: Will there really be more GPs in Harlow?

Politics / Sun 24th Mar 2024 at 12:29pm


Dear Editor,

Currently, there 8,858 vacancies for doctors in the NHS in England.

Last year, the government announced a long-term plan to rebuild the NHS workforce.

Indeed, last year Robert Halfon, our MP, was boasting on ‘X’ that the Tories were going to double the number of places for medical training. There were going to be more GPs. Waiting lists would be cut!
WOW! About time I hear you say. But guess what?

Our MP in his capacity as the minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, has actually slashed the target figures so that there will now only be 350 additional places for trainee doctors in 2025-26.
350?

This is LESS THAN A QUARTER of the annual number widely promised.

Worse still, there is no guarantee of funding in the years to come. The year after next might see even lower numbers of new doctors being trained.

Forget 2031. Experts say that at this rate it will be 2041, before we train enough new doctors.

So, patients will have another two decades of waiting longer for care while the NHS pays an arm and a leg in agency fees.

In other words, the NHS workforce plan so grandly announced is – like our new hospital – is just another Tory lie.

A month ago, my GP, was so concerned about my health she called an ambulance to take me to A&E.

She was told there were none – it would be hours before I would be taken to hospital.

I had to make my own way and got there at 7pm, going past a queue of ambulances waiting to discharge their patients.

A&E was packed. People were queueing to get in. Many were forced to stand for hours on end. Security was present in case tempers flared.

It took three hours before I was triaged. At midnight I was told to go into the ‘further analysis’ area where

I was given oxygen. Also packed with people but in a smaller space. At 3am I was having panic attacks.

A woman with her seriously ill daughter who had already been waiting 20 hours without being seen, lost her temper with nursing staff. The young woman sitting next to me, also with a serious condition, had been waiting 24 hours to be seen without food or water.

By 6.30am (eleven and a half hours after I arrived) I still hadn’t been seen by a nurse or doctor. I asked the nurse, who hadn’t moved from her desk except for her break, why there were such long delays.

“There’s only one doctor on duty and they are only dealing with critical cases,” she replied. (No, it wasn’t a strike day.)

Are you proud that our MP has played an important role in making sure scenes like these are going to continue for many years to come?

Yours sincerely
Trevor Pyle

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9 Comments for Letter to Editor: Will there really be more GPs in Harlow?:

Adam
2024-03-24 18:48:21

Sorry for your experience, I have said it before lockdown broke the NHS and GPs have taken the opportunity to all but disappear putting pressure on A&E. 20 Hours is far to long to wait, why is there only 1 Dr covering it, why are people paying high taxes for a service which is not even 3rd rate. Where does the 200 plus billion a year we give to the NHS go, oh yes it goes on chief executives, trips to vegas, communication consultants and diversity inclusion and equality roles

Mark Gough
2024-03-24 19:03:26

Well Trevor, you raise my number one Political point that I have been raising now for over 20 years, as both a Political Candidate and a member of the Community that has seen the staffing issues first hand as a Medical Salesman. The numbers you quote Trevor are actually quite low and only cover the Primary Care GP situation. Nationally we are short of 100k Doctors and 100k Nurses, and that doesn't cover Midwives or the other disaster that is dentistry. Both Tory and Labour have had ridiculous annual caps of 7.5k on both Medical School and Nurse training places! Is it any wonder we have shortages if we aren't training people! The Tories recently raised both caps to 10k - big deal! I stood for Parliament for UKIP in both 2015 in Chelmsford and here in Harlow in 2019. We would scrap those caps straight away and get training more of our own people. Every Medical School place has 20+ applications and Nurse training even more. The State Registered Nurse needs bringing back too as there is no reason that Nursing needs to be a degree. When I was in Medical Sales, Labour were in Office and I remember they wanted to reduce the numbers of patients per GP. A GP Trust Chairman pointed out that in his Trust they were 7.5 GPs short already, and 50 of the 75 he had qualified for retirement within the next five years. To achieve the patient to GP ratios Labour wanted he would need 186 more GPs! He asked where they would come from when he was already 7.5 short! That was 2007, and nearly 20 years on, and Governments of 2.5 different colours - nothing has changed. What better example is there that the old two party has failed! Time for change!

Mark Gough
2024-03-24 19:06:22

*two party system

Jean
2024-03-24 22:26:43

Whatever happened in 2016 saw 3 of the best GP's take early retirement from Nuffield House. Then came the pandemic+true 'family doctors' disappeared. Now you are 'navigated' by a Receptionist to the person best suited to your needs+most of the time that is not a GP. I thought GP stood for General Practitioner meaning diagnosed, treatsor refers to a specialist. Now you get an appointment with an Advanced Nurse Practitioner instead of a GP. They're brilliant so why do we need GP's? I would also like to know how much of patients medical records Receptionists have access to because they read parts of them to help them 'navigate' you. I thought patient confidentiality was between patient+doctor not for staff to be heard discussing out in the waiting room.

Ratboy
2024-03-25 08:41:30

The time has come now for the people to unite and take the government to court over the woeful lack of GP services and general health provision.We have already payed for the service out of our taxes and national insurance so can we please get the service we are owed .Otherwise we may well see you in court.

Ramesh Rampersad
2024-03-25 16:55:22

I agree with all these comments and as a patient , worked for the NHS as a registered Nurse for 22 years, I am also in the same boat. I am waiting to be seen by my Orthopedic surgeon for 2 years following surgery in 2019 for follow up and more treatment. My condition is deteriorating day by day.

Nick Gunning
2024-03-25 16:55:59

The 'Dead Cat' of 40 new hospitals played out long ago. What's the point of you can't staff the ones you've got? The one planned for Harlow would be on an out of town site on leasehold, in an area that certainly wouldn't pass WHO standards for air pollution, but might help fatten some pockets of a certain class. Two other disasters hit the NHS: George Osborne ended nursing bursaries- a deliberate attack on NHS nurse training. Then Brexit destroyed routes for people in the lower paid areas of health work. Current insistence on minimum salary levels and not bringing offspring have made prospects worse. But the tories have form- they interfered with British Rail to make it unworkable, then used its failure to excuse privatisating it- disastrously! The same undermining is going on in the NHS- ironically, the private companies are charging eye-watering sums to provide support staff who were trained by our NHS!

Kevin
2024-03-25 18:52:20

Totally agree with you Ratboy the GP service is a total disgrace and it's about time the government stopped giving them huge funds for doing sweet fa My Son was diagnosed with a serious condition in October and told he needs to be seen as urgent, absolutely nothing has happened maybe it's because his GP only works 2 1/2 days max a week. Like so many things in this country we pay for and don't get

agree
2024-03-27 06:36:23

Ratboy,you are so right.

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