Martin Goss for Colchester

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by leesmith on 29 February, 2024

PEOPLE living in north Essex are being “abandoned” as they face longer waits to see their local GP.

Research by the Liberal Democrats has found the number of patients waiting more than 14 days for an appointment, excluding those with an unknown time between the initial booking and eventually being seen, rose to 433,771 in 2023 from 352,157 the previous year – a 23% increase.

And the data from the House of Commons Library also revealed the number of those waiting more than 28 days increased to 131,791 from 95,854 – a 37% increase. In all, the annual change in the total number of appointments rose by just 3%.

The Lib Dems are calling for a legal right to get a GP appointment within seven days, or 24 hours if in urgent need.

The policy would enshrine this right in the NHS Constitution, putting a duty on the government and health service to make sure it happens. It would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs plus the number of nurses and pharmacists fully qualified to prescribe day-to-day medicines.

Martin Goss, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Colchester, said: “Far too many people in this area are struggling to get a GP appointment when they need one. It is causing people huge anxiety because they can’t be confident any more of getting the care they need.

“It shows our community has been totally abandoned by this government when it comes to local health services.

“Being able to see a GP when you need to should not be too much to ask, but even on this measure people are being failed after years of neglect by this Conservative government.

“That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a legal right for all patients to see their GP within seven days or 24-hours if in urgent need.”

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