Mid Sussex Liberal Democrats have hit out at GP shortage in the district, demanding that an ‘urgent plan must be put in place’.
This week, we revealed that Horsham and Mid Sussex is the second worst area in the country for GP access, according to the BBC.
The area has 2,997 patients per GP – more than double the best area, Rushcliffe – according to a report.
Commenting on the findings, Robert Eggleston, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex, said: “Mid Sussex GP practices are already struggling to cope with the demand on their services and residents across the constituency have complained about the difficulty of getting appointments.
“Demand is only going to increase as more major house building projects get underway, particularly around Burgess Hill.
It is clear that we need more GPs in Mid Sussex. An urgent plan must be put in place to address the GP shortage.Robert Eggleston, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex
“When you add in the pressures from an ageing population you can easily see how quickly this shortfall can become critical for patient care.”
Mr Eggleston said The Royal College of General Practitioners’ chairman professor Helen Stokes-Lampard had called the differences in the number of GPs ‘shocking’ and ‘surprising’.
He added: “It is clear that we need more GPs in Mid Sussex. An urgent plan must be put in place to address the GP shortage.
“This includes: addressing the shortage of trained GPs; ensuring we have an immigration strategy that allows us to recruit easily, especially from continental Europe; and crucially making sure that planning applications for new housing meets the shortfall in health provision.
“In addition, the Government must recognise that there is inequality of access to GPs by encouraging health staff to move into the area.
“When local GP practices try to recruit, potential staff may be deterred by high housing costs and inadequate places for their families in schools.
“This can only be addressed by developing a long term strategy to ‘invest in people’ by providing more affordable housing, in particular allocating housing for key workers, and additional school places.
“Finally, the Government needs to look again at nurse recruitment and reward, as having nurse-practitioners in GP practices helps to extend the reach of the GPs we do have. Nursing training has been badly affected by the removal of bursaries and these should be restored.”