Funding has actually increased but patients rate it one of the worst GP practices in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Gareth Wright, Health Spokesperson for SE Cambridgeshire Labour and Waterbeach resident says:
“Ever tried running up a down escalator? That’s what if feels like working in the Health Service at the moment: no matter how much effort you put in, there’s always the threat that you’ll start to slide backwards.
“The doctors and nurses at Waterbeach surgery are doubtless feeling like this at the moment. They work hard but they are short-staffed and under-funded.
“It came as little surprise to see Waterbeach surgery rated as one of the worst in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough a few months ago”.
Waterbeach Labour Party decided to find out what’s going on. Following a Freedom of Information request, shock figures revealed that since 2019 the amount of money spent by the NHS for GP services in Waterbeach has more than doubled (up by 104%). Allowing for the local population increase, the funding per patient has gone up from £96 to £163, that’s more than half as much again per patient.
The overwhelming proportion of this funding has gone to subcontractors and what are termed “alternative providers of medical services” such as MKGP plus Limited. This is a privately run company based near Milton Keynes (over 50 miles away).
Mr Wright adds:
“I am demanding answers from MKGP Plus Limited. Where exactly is the money going? It should be providing better medical care here in Waterbeach. Yet a look at their website shows a lot of managers and administrators and not that many medical staff.
“These private providers should be held responsible for the poor service locally but a vote next week on the Health and Care bill could give companies such as MKGP Limited more of a say in our healthcare. That would make it even harder to hold them to account.
“I want to see this sorted out quickly. And the urgency is greater given the development that’s happening here. At a recent village forum we found out that no money will be available for a new surgery until another 1600 homes are occupied. That could mean 3800 extra patients before any further capacity is available.
“I have heard directly from staff at Waterbeach surgery that they are trying their hardest to provide the best service they can. Patient care is their priority and always has been.
“It makes me sad because it didn’t have to be like this. The Conservative Government were warned not to pick a fight with junior doctors yet they imposed a new contract with worse conditions. They were warned not to cut off the supply of qualified staff from the EU yet they went ahead and scrapped freedom of movement. They were warned not to freeze NHS pay yet they did it anyway. All these factors have pushed the NHS to its biggest winter crisis ever.
“They have found £37billion to spend on the failed track and trace. That’s about a quarter of the annual health and care budget in England. The money is there; it’s a question of priorities.”
GP surgeries rated as reported here
Freedom of information requests