Anne Marie Waters
January 9th 2020
The Royal College of GPs has spoken out about delays now experienced by patients waiting to see a doctor. The College calls waiting times “unacceptable” and said that patients were often waiting as long as three weeks for an appointment. Furthermore, doctors are under heavy workloads, which could mean that their service will suffer – putting patients at risk.
According to official figures reported by the BBC, there were just over 28,000 fully qualified full-time GPs in England as of September 2019. This is a down by 3.7% since September 2015.
Further figures reveal that there were 160.8 million GP appointments in the 12 months to November 2019, 450,000 more than the previous year.
Like nurses, doctors in the NHS are increasingly overworked as patient numbers go up, but doctor numbers go down.
The solution to the problems of the NHS, offered by every major party in British politics, is one thing – more money. In the recent general election, both big parties promised just that, but as so often, there was no discussion of how the money will be spent.
For Britain knows that there are problems in the NHS that can’t be solved with more money. Mismanagement and absurd procurement costs drain money from the health service. This means that giving more and more cash to the NHS is simply throwing good money after bad.
The shortage of doctors is not being addressed for the longer term. The Conservatives propose to make it easier to come to the UK if it is to work in the NHS, but more people coming here also means more patients for the already overburdened health service.
Furthermore, young Britons struggle to find training places in the NHS every year, why? If more money is to be spent in the health sector, then training young British doctors and nurses must be a priority.
We must also admit and address the huge levels of immigration that are changing the face of NHS GP surgeries – personal care is limited as surgeries are simply too busy.
We must also act on “health tourism” (people coming to the UK to solely to use the health service) and find better use for the £2 billion it costs the NHS every year. To do that, we need better management.
There must now be fresh thinking on how the health service is run. More and more money will not solve the problems. We must first acknowledge what the issues are, without fear of the usual accusations, and then apply common sense to solve them. It really is as simple as that.
Anne Marie Waters