Chelmsford Lib Dem Leader, Stephen Robinson, was joined by local GPs on BBC Essex earlier today, calling for more funding for GPs and more doctors in Essex.
In the interview (listen here, fast forward to 2h 20s) Cllr. Robinson explained that (especially with an ageing population) more people need to see a GP AND the population is growing AND GPs are retiring (or leaving) faster than new ones are joining the profession. It's creating a huge problem.
Cllr Robinson commented, "It's great that we have a medical school in Chelmsford, at Anglia Ruskin University, but there are only 100 places. The local NHS, however, tells us that Essex needs 300 new doctors a year. So the Government needs to fund more training places.
"At Chelmsford City Council we are doing everything we possibly can to help. We have allocated land in the Local Plan for new GP surgeries (and require developers to build them). For example, on the Warren Farm development. We will continue to do so - IF the NHS tells us they are needed.
"The Council can also grant fund existing GP practices to expand, as we have at Sutherland Lodge with a grant of £525,000." (See CIL statement p.5.)
GP surgeries also need support to upgrade systems e.g. make telephone and website appointments eaiser. That will get people seen quicker and also stop them going to hospital just because they can't get a GP, which actually costs the NHS more.
However, Government funding for GPs is way below inflation – a 1.9% increase this year. It’s not surprising that many are leaving the profession.
Read more on the BBC website.
The photo is one of the two surgeries that have closed in Chelmsford recently.