A blog by Gareth Wright. 30 years experience in the NHS. Never seen it so bad.
I need a GP appointment. We’ve all been there. Call at 8.30am. Join the queue. Get through, none left. Call again tomorrow.
It’s an everyday example of the challenges we all have accessing health care. Especially here in Waterbeach.
Our local surgery has been in trouble for years. It closed abruptly in 2019 following an inspection. Since then it has limped on under new management and is now on a final warning and must improve by the end of the year.
The population of Waterbeach has risen by over 20% since 2001. And it’s growing even faster now with local development as well as the New Town. We must plan ahead.
Only this week Britain’s top family doctor Prof Martin Marshall (chair of the Royal College of GPs) warned that GPs in England are finding it increasingly hard to guarantee safe care. A shortage of medics means they are unable to cope with soaring demand.
I work at Addenbrookes and I see the knock-on effect of the trouble seeing a GP. Eventually people give up and come to A&E, overwhelming a service already at breaking point.
So what needs to change?
Funding for the NHS that grows in real terms
The Conservative Government has consistently under-funded the NHS, and hit staff morale with unnecessary reorganisation and real-terms pay cuts The NHS as a whole has far fewer staff than it needs. And the numbers are going down — for example, three GPs quit every day.
In 2015, the Conservative Government vowed to hire 5,000 more GPs within five years. But instead the numbers have fallen.
Nearly all our GP surgeries, health centres and hospitals struggle to recruit because of the high cost of living here. A ‘Cambridge Weighting’ reflected this until 2010 when the Tory/Lib Dem coalition scrapped it.
Proper planning by Local Councils so that infrastructure is ready as the town grows.
To include local health services such as GP surgeries, pharmacies and dentists.
An end to creeping privatisation
The Conservatives continue to throw money at the Private Sector. £37 billion to the firms running the failing Track and Trace. £10 billion to Private Hospitals. Imagine what we could do with this extra money in the NHS. It would increase funds by around 30%.