I received hundreds of responses to my recent survey on GP services in Park Wood, which shows just how much people care. Lots of people shared stories of how good their local GP surgery is. For instance, at some surgeries, it’s easy to get an appointment, there are excellent facilities and the staff are always friendly and helpful. However, it was clear that patients at other surgeries aren’t always getting that sort of experience. This isn’t right, and I’m determined to get changes to help all of you.
The survey has given me a good sense of what’s going well and where people are having problems. There’s no doubt that our NHS staff are dedicated and hardworking, and many patients get great care, but not everyone.
For many people, getting an appointment is difficult, and one in five people have gone to A&E instead. Some people told me despite living in Park Wood for years, they travel as far as Chatham to see a GP, and some patients have to queue outside for a same day appointment. Some surgeries have telephones which just ring through with no one to answer them, or only have appointments during working hours when many people can’t make them. This has to get better.
Some people had good ideas on services local surgeries could provide, like blood tests, stitches and ear syringing. I think it would be great to make these simple, routine procedures easier to access at GP surgeries. Although some surgeries do these extra services, not all of them do.
The main findings of the survey are below:
- Respondents said that the GPs were excellent and 88% said they were happy with the facilities at the surgery.
- Although most people (51%) can get an appointment with a GP on the same day or within two weeks, 45% said they had to wait longer than two weeks.
- 20% said they had visited A&E in the past year because they were unable to get a GP appointment.
I’ve shared my results with local GPs, asking them to work together to make sure everyone has a good experience at their surgery. I’ve also written to the local NHS body which funds GP surgeries asking them what they can do to help. Finally, I’ve written to the Health Secretary so that the Government knows that Park Wood needs improvements in GP services.
I’m glad that the Government is providing the NHS with an additional £20.5 billion per year within five years. This is the largest, longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. This money will be used to secure the long term future of free healthcare in our country. The Prime Minister has said that one of his priorities for this funding is to make it easier to get a GP appointment – which is exactly what many patients in Park Wood want.
An online survey about GP services - for everyone in Faversham and Mid Kent - is still open, so please visit my website and take a few minutes to tell me what you think. The survey can be found here.