Essex needs more GPs - Lib Dem motion passes at County Council

9 Jun 2023

A call for an increase in GP numbers across Essex has been backed at a meeting of
Essex County Council. The Liberal Democrat group tabled a motion at a meeting of
the full council on Tuesday (16 May).

Moving the motion, Lib Dem Marie Goldman (Chelmsford Central) said, "Not being
able to get a GP appointment is an issue of major concern to residents across
Essex. Demand for GP appointments is rising but the number of GPs in Essex is not
keeping up. We desperately need more doctors to be trained and so we need the
Government to fund additional training places at Anglia Ruskin University's medical

Lib Dem Stephen Robinson (Chelmsford North) added, "At Chelmsford City Council
we have done everything we possibly can to support the expansion of GP services
locally. We have allocated space for new GP surgeries (e.g. in the Warren Farm
development near Writtle) and we have made funding available to upgrade existing
surgeries, such as Sutherland Lodge, Great Baddow. If the NHS tells planning
authorities like Chelmsford that additional surgeries are required, then we can force
developers to pay for them. But they do need to tell us."

In an unusual outbreak of cross-party co-operation, the Conservatives moved an
amendment to the Lib Dem motion (broadly in the spirit of the original motion) and
then the amended motion was passed unanimously.

Full text of the motion passed by Essex County Council

This Council believes that timely and, in many cases, face-to-face access to GP
services are essential for the health and wellbeing of our residents and calls for more
consistent access across the county and reduced waiting times, as this will help
Essex residents, and reduce pressure on Accident and Emergency and other
hospital services.

This Council:
# Recognises the challenges GPs have had during and post the pandemic, resulting
in them needing to adopt new working practices;

# Recognises that primary care will work best when doctors, local authorities and
communities work in collaboration with shared knowledge;

# Welcomes the development of multi-disciplinary health care centres where
residents can talk with the best person to address their needs but notes the
importance of triage being fully and sympathetically explained;

# Recognises that in some practices the levels of same-day and/or face-to-face
appointments are well below the expectation of patients and that delays inevitably
create anxiety while possibly impacting on the health of the individual;


# Notes that there are simply not enough GPs practising in Essex, that some
practices are closing and that – despite the Chelmsford Medical School success –
more capacity is required.

This Council requests the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to obtain from
the three Integrated Care Systems a position statement on the number of GP
vacancies in the county and what steps are being taken to fill these.

The Council requests the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health to:

# Liaise with Anglia Ruskin University in approaching the Secretary of State to
secure funds for doubling the capacity of the medical school

# Work with relevant cabinet colleagues and all partners to ensure that City, Borough
and District Councils require, and that the NHS requests, sufficient appropriate
healthcare facilities when developing local plans and approving specific plans for
housing development.

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