Survey shows over 350,000 people in North East say local GP opening hours are inconvenient

Emma Lewell BuckNew analysis published today by Labour shows that 13%, around 353,243, of people in North East find their local GP opening times inconvenient.

Over 71% of patients in the area want to see their GP surgery’s opening hours extended to include evenings and Saturdays, and 31% would like appointments earlier in the morning.

Emma Lewell-Buck, Labour MP for South Shields said:

“It’s really tough for people to juggle their work and family commitments. Many local residents tell me how hard it is to squeeze a visit to the GP into their already busy schedules.

“The government should be doing more to help local GPs offer the improved services they want to deliver for their patients.

“Under David Cameron, the NHS is going backwards. Only under a One Nation Labour Government are we going to get an NHS that works for all the British people.”

Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP said:

“Millions of people want to be able to book an appointment with a GP outside of normal working hours. It’s hard to take time off during work, and many people also have to commute or pick their children up after school.

“David Cameron promised he’d make it easier for patients to see a GP. But the number of patients who say their surgery opening hours are inconvenient is rising and fewer surgeries are now offering evening and weekend appointments.

“This Government removed the vital incentives Labour put in place to make surgery appointments more convenient. That’s wrong and must change.

“Ministers should also instruct NHS England to ensure all GP led Clinical Commissioning Groups act on patients’ concerns about getting an appointment and give this issue the priority it deserves.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

1. According to NHS England CCG directory<http://www.england.nhs.uk/resources/ccg-directory/> there are 2,683,738 people registered with a GP in Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Cleveland areas.

2. Labour‘s analysis is based on the results of the latest national GP patient survey<http://www.gp-patient.co.uk/results/latest_weighted/ccg/> (July 2012 – March 2013) which is based on 971,000 responses. It found that 13% of patients in the North East CCGs say their GP opening hours are inconvenient.