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New figures reveal sharp fall in GPs per person in Wiltshire

October 16, 2021 2:12 PM
By South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

General Practice ()NHS Bath and Northeast Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG is one of the worst hit areas in the country by the growing shortage of GPs, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

It comes as many people are struggling to book an appointment with their GP, with services increasingly under pressure from rising demand.

The figures show there is now just one GP per 1,937 people in Wiltshire in June 2021,

This has risen by 6% from the one GP per 1,827 people five years ago.

The number of GPs employed in Wiltshire has also fallen by 2% to just 480 in the same period despite the rising population and new housing developments we see across our area.

Further analysis by the British Medical Association (BMA) shows a dismal picture overall for GPs, with there being the equivalent of over 1,900 fewer fully qualified, full-time GPs now than there were in 2015. We also know that the second largest clinical profession in general practice, the nursing workforce is also declining.

The picture is similarly bleak when compared to the UK's international neighbours. OECD stats from 2019 show that the UK's average of three doctors per 1,000 people ranks below the likes of Hungary and Czech Republic, and only just ahead of Brazil and Mexico.

Ellen Nicholson, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Southwest Wiltshire, who works within the general practice in both a strategic and a clinical role as an advanced nurse practitioner said

"People rely on being able to see a GP when they or their families fall sick to get advice, access treatment and get well again.

This lack of investment in the workforce and in general practice infrastructure will hit the most vulnerable families in Wiltshire the hardest, with lower income households and those with long term medical conditions stuck in endless waits to get treatment"

"Punitive measures such as league tables for practices, suggested by the health secretary, will likely have a negative impact on practices; worsening staff morale and leading to probable staff resignations, exacerbating an already fraught situation.

Government should work with general practice to offer supportive measures to help practices achieve access to appointments and allow for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.