MP demands GP waiting time guarantee amid practice closures

An MP has called for a guarantee that patients will not face longer waits for GP appointments as a CCG confirmed the 'regrettable' closure of four practices in Lincolnshire.

GPonline reported earlier this week that 11,000 patients would be forced to look for a new GP, with four practices in the Lincolnshire West CCG area facing closure after a provider walked out.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney (Con) expressed his 'complete frustration' at the closures, and warned that patients must not be allowed to suffer longer waits.

The MP's warning over the impact of closures came less than a week after Bristol South MP Karin Smyth (Lab) called for a solution to growing problems with primary care in her area, after one practice closed amid fears it could trigger a 'domino effect'.

GP waiting times

Mr McCartney said: 'It is deeply disappointing that a long-term provider for these two vital GP surgeries has not been found and I greatly fear there will be a knock-on effect that makes it harder for everyone in Lincoln to see a doctor as quickly as they might wish to, and should do.

'We need more GP provision, not less, so these closures have to be met with increased capacity in existing surgeries. This is why the CCG must reassure patients and taxpayers by publicly pledging that these closures will not lead to longer waiting times.'

Director of service delivery at Lincolnshire West CCG Sarah-Jane Mills said: We completely understand this is regrettable and that some patients will feel concerned about change but we are committed to ensuring patients continue to access good quality, local, GP-led health services.'

The closures are the latest in a growing wave of GP practices that have become impossible to sustain.

GP workload

Eight out of 10 GPs now say their workload is unmanageable, according to a recent BMA poll of more than 5,000 doctors, and earlier this month GPonline warned that practices serving 5m patients could be forced to close in the next 12 months.

BMA chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned in a speech earlier this year that GP practice closures had hit record levels. NHS leaders have said more than 1,000 practices will receive resilience funding support this financial year, but GPs have warned that help mjust be delivered faster.

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