November 18, 2014

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There is a growing problem at a number of GP surgeries. 

At Melling surgery, the closure of the practice for part of the work has caused real difficulties as patients have to either wait or travel to Tower Hill, which is a long journey by two buses. 
At Hightown, patients have told me of the surgery being shut when it is supposed to be open and about difficulties with staff at the surgery on top of the difficulty in seeing the doctor. 
Now at Thornton, at Freshfield and at Parkhaven, you have told me about the use of locums and of the delays in getting an appointment. The surgeries at Hightown, Freshfield, Thornton and Parkhaven are run by all SSP Healthcare, who took over running the practices from the Primary Care Trust. 
SSP Healthcare promised to me that they would employ permanent GPs at their surgeries when they took over but this appears to be taking a very long time. 
I wrote to the Health Minister with the concerns raised by many of you about our GP Practices but was told that it was nothing to do with the government as NHS England is responsible. 
The government has washed its hands of its responsibility when it comes to making sure that your family doctor is there for you to see when you need to see them. 
Meanwhile NHS England says that it is happy with the way the surgeries are being run.

One patient told me that the GP practice that she has attended since 1978 is now falling apart as good doctors have been replaced by locums. It has taken her two weeks to get an appointment for blood test results and her experience is typical of what you are telling me. 
The difficulties in seeing the same doctor, the attitude of staff and the state of the waiting room are all issues which have been raised with me.
The problems with seeing a GP, which so many of you are experiencing are all part of the re-organisation of the NHS which the coalition government pushed through with the Health and Social Care Act. 
On Friday (November 21), my Labour colleagues and I will vote for the NHS (Amended Duties and Powers) bill, which aims to stop the worst of the Health and Social Care Act, including the privatisation of services. 
It also sets out to make ministers responsible for our NHS once again. The vote on November 21 is just the start. 
We need full time GPs available within 48 hours for everyone. 
If we win the election next year that is what Labour will deliver and we will scrap the Health and Social Care Act completely.