Sheffield councillors warn GP surgeries are at “breaking point” and the whole of the NHS is at risk

GP surgeries are at “breaking point” and the whole of the NHS is at risk, warn councillors who are calling for an emergency debate.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 3:03 pm

Labour councillor Jack Scott has been given permission to bring an urgent motion before full council tomorrow (Wednesday).

Normally, motions have to be filed at least a week before the meeting but a group of senior councillors met with general practitioners, health service commissioners and Director of Public Health Greg Fell after the deadline.

Councillors “were left in no doubt about the seriousness and urgency of the situation” and the GPs were keen for support from the council to help the public understand the pressure on them.

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Coun Scott.

Coun Scott said: “I want the council to recognise that general practices across the country are at breaking point, putting the whole of the NHS at risk.

“Primary Care is the bedrock of the NHS, dealing with around 90 per cent of patient contacts.

“Currently, GPs and their teams are at the forefront of helping communities recover from the pandemic.

“They are caring for people whose mental and physical health has been affected by Covid and leading the vaccination programme whilst at the same time, dealing with the backlog of people on waiting lists elsewhere in the NHS

“The overall number of GPs has seen little growth since 2015 but the number of patients per practice is 22 per cent higher than 2015.

“There is a growing backlog of care in the NHS – long waits for specialist treatment are skyrocketing and pressure on Accident and Emergency Departments is reaching pre-pandemic levels.

“GPs are under pressure, resignations are rising and practices are shutting down at record rates. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get GPs to practice in deprived areas.”

Labour wants the Government to invest in more GPs, reduce red tape, and increase investment in community activities to address the underlying causes of poor health.

The Liberal Democrats say half of GP surgeries in England are considered by professionals to be unfit for purpose and ill-equipped to meet future demand. They want a fundamental reform of investment in primary care.