City of Durham MP, Mary Kelly Foy, reacted with dismay at newly released NHS figures revealing 1511 patients had to wait over 28 days for a GP appointment in her County Durham constituency in January this year. The official data also revealed that 4582 patients in the Durham constituency had to wait over two weeks for an appointment in the same month.
The latest figures illustrate the scale of waiting times across England, where 1,249,776 people had to wait more than 28 days for an appointment, while 3,025,823 people had to wait more than two weeks across the same time period.
Response from Mary Kelly-Foy. MP
Reacting to the scale of GP waiting times, Kelly-Foy commented:
“I don’t think these figures will come as a surprise to anyone, they tally with the everyday experience of people I meet on the doorstep who are at their wits end that they cannot see a GP when they need one.
This data makes crystal clear that the longer the Conservatives govern, the longer NHS patients wait in City of Durham and across the country.”
NHS staffing crisis and Labour plans
The figures have been released in the backdrop of MPs debating the Labour Party’s NHS workforce plans to train the next generation of health staff. The NHS currently faces a staffing crisis contributing to waiting times, with a record 133,000 staff vacancies. However, under the Labour plans debated on Tuesday in the House of Commons, the Party would double the number of medical school places, deliver 10,000 more nursing and midwifery clinical placements, train twice the number of district nurses per year and deliver 5000 more health visitors.
The Labour proposals have been endorsed by NHS chiefs, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt is thought to be refusing to fund the plan, ahead of next month’s budget.
The Labour Party has argued that the fully costed plan, could be funded by scrapping the controversial ‘non-dom’ tax status, which allows wealthy individuals residing in the UK to avoid paying tax to British exchequer.
We need more than sticking plaster solutions
Speaking about Labour’s plan, Kelly- Foy said:
“The NHS is crying out for a long-term workforce plan to ensure patients can be seen on time, yet the government offer only sticking plaster solutions. The public agree that we need nurses rather than ‘non doms’ in this country. That’s why Labour is choosing to invest in our overstretched NHS workforce.
By contrast, the Conservatives are defending tax avoidance loopholes for the super wealthy rather than stand up for the NHS and fund much needed additional doctors, nurses and other vital healthcare staff.”
This article is based on a press release from the office of Mary Kelly-Foy