The Liberal Democrats have called for a return to proper local health services, after new figures revealed a fall in the number of GPs in West Leicestershire, the area around Hinckley, while patient numbers rise.
The analysis shows that there are now an eye-watering 2,132 patients for every GP in West Leicestershire. This is up by 11% since 2016.
At the last election, the Conservative party promised to recruit more GPs. However, today's analysis reveals there are now almost 2,000 fewer fully qualified GPs in England compared to 2016. The number of GPs has fallen by 6 GPs in West Leicestershire over the same time period.
Separate figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have found that there are 547 fewer GP surgeries in England compared to 2019. This includes a fall of 115 surgeries across the Midlands and East of England over that period.
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey launched the party's local election campaign this week with a pledge to recruit more GPs and give patients a legal right to see a GP within 7 days, or 24 hours in an emergency. This would be achieved through increasing training places for GPs, a programme to retain experienced doctors and staff, and launching a recruitment drive to encourage those who've left the NHS to return.
The party is also calling for a rescue plan for social care, including setting a higher minimum wage for carers to tackle staff shortages and ensuring no one has to sell their home to pay for care.
Commenting Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesman for Hinckley and Bosworth Cllr Michael Mullaney said:
"We need a return to proper local health services. People in Hinckley and Bosworth want strong local health services but years of Government neglect has caused a GP shortage crisis, leaving people unable to see their local doctor when they need to. I speak to many people in Hinckley who tell me of long waits to see GPs. The Conservative government have let people down over the NHS.
"Liberal Democrats would guarantee people a right to a GP appointment within one week so people can get the care they deserve. Boosting GP numbers would not only help people get appointments, it would reduce pressure on our hospitals and paramedics, saving crucial time and money elsewhere in the NHS.
"This local election is a golden opportunity to send the Government a message they cannot ignore, and elect a strong local champion who will stand up for our health services."
Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP added:
"Patients are paying the price for years of neglect under this Conservative Government, who have broken their promise to recruit more GPs. It shows ministers are taking local communities for granted.
"It's time these out-of-touch ministers made good on their promises to hire more doctors, cut waiting times and cleared the backlog."
A Hinckley County Councillor has renewed calls for a safe road crossing to be installed near a Hinckley School.
Lib Dem Councillor for Hinckley De Montfort Michael Mullaney has campaigned with local parents, residents and fellow Hinckley Councillors David Bill and Stuart Bray to get a safe crossing near St Peter’s School on London Road, Hinckley.
This follows news that Leicestershire County Council have again decided against putting a crossing there.
In a written submission to the County Council’s Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee Michael Mullaney set out why a crossing was still needed there
“A huge number of residents in the area I represent on the County Council and the area my two fellow Hinckley County Councillors David Bill and Stuart Bray represent support a safe crossing at St Peter’s School on London Road in Hinckley. 8,850 residents signed a petition supporting the campaign.
“There are safety concerns, there have been a number of near misses involving pupils and parents going to the school. Although not recorded it is believed that there was an accident leading to a fatality some years ago along this part of London Road when a pedestrian was knocked over.
“Whilst I appreciate the extra road safety measures that are proposed for London Road near St Peter’s School I am extremely disappointed that the request for a safe road crossing has not been supported in the report.
“There is widespread support for it and Cllrs Bill, Bray and myself identified funding for putting a crossing in at the site through the Members Highway Fund, a fund which was developed with the apparent intention of supporting Highways causes that were important in Councillor’s local areas.
“Whilst it’s welcome that a crossing person has been recruited for St Peter’s School there is always the risk that the person may step down from the job and it may be difficult to find a new person (as it took some years to recruit a crossing person there, with no school crossing patrol between 2017 and 2022 despite attempts to recruit to the post). A safe pedestrian crossing at the site however would be a permanent safety measure that would benefit pupils and parents and residents more generally crossing the road there.
“Whilst I welcome the fact there will be some safety improvements at the site I and many residents believe there still needs to be a safe permanent crossing at St Peter’s School. I therefore urge the County Council to rethink and agree to installing a crossing near St Peter’s School”