PRESS RELEASE: A SHORTAGE OF GPs IN BRIGHTON LEAVING PATIENTS STRUGGLING TO GET AN APPOINTMENT (6.6.2022)

A recent BBC article reported Nuffield Trust data showing that Brighton has some of the fewest GPs in England, with just 44 GPs per 100,000 patients
GP Stethoscope, Left on top lined paper, close up view
  • A BBC article reported Nuffield Trust data showing that Brighton has some of the fewest GPs in England, with just 44 GPs per 100,000 patient
  • Healthwatch recently had to step in to support patients of Coldean’s New Larchwood Surgery to reverse last year’s decision by the Practice to reduce its hours and services.
  • This comes on top of news that British public satisfaction with the NHS lowest is the lowest in 25 years.
“Behind these figures is someone's story. In the last year, concerns or requests for advice concerning GPs and GP practices were the 4th main reason why people contacted us for help and support. And in this last week, we were contacted by someone who told us they had tried to join a GP practice in their area and were told they weren't taking on new patients. He asked “what am I meant to do?” Last year, Healthwatch in Sussex published a report which revealed that people who were experiencing delays in obtaining GP appointments were going to A&E instead, placing unnecessary strain on hospital resources. GP staff have faced unprecedented challenges and worked tirelessly to provide help and support during the COVID period, but are their workloads are increasing to unmanageable and potentially unsafe levels?”
— David Liley, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, said:

This latest report highlights once again the impact that access to doctors is having. This comes after another recent Kings Fund report which showed low levels of satisfaction amongst patients with GPs, just 38%.

Brighton has just 44 GPs per 100,000 patients, whilst other areas of the country have more than 70. Healthwatch Brighton and Hove has for many years raised the impact of reduced GP hours and the number off practices in the city.

In 2020, our last review of GP practices in the city, we revealed that

·         patient caseloads had increased from 2,394 patients per doctor in 2017/18 to 2,479 in 2018/2019.  This was against an England average of 1,825 per doctor.

·         The number of GP Practices had decreased from 48 to 35 from 2015 to 2019. There were also currently five branch surgeries that provide GP services.

We recently stepped in to support patients of Coldean’s New Larchwood Surgery after they had expressed their concerns about changes to opening hours, which were forcing them to travel for up to 30 minutes and on two buses to the alternative service at Carden Surgery. Working with patients, we brought these concerns to the attention of the Clinical Commissioning Group and pressed hard for changes which helped to reverse a decision by the Practice to reduce its hours and services. But more action is needed to reverse the reduction in GP practices across the city which has been ongoing for years.

Healthwatch England findings show that people recognise the pressure health services are under as they seek to recover from the pandemic. However, people are increasingly concerned about the changes to how they access GP services. And it is often the most vulnerable people in our society, including children, disabled people and those living on low incomes, who are suffering

Press queries

Geoffrey Bowden, Chair, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove

chair@healthwatchbrightonandhove.co.uk / 07958 682 683

Broadcast media: our spokesperson will be available for pre-recorded interviews either down-the-line, for radio or for television via online platforms. Should broadcasters wish to have a representative in a studio Healthwatch will try to accommodate such requests and expects interviews to be conducted in accordance with Government COVID-19 guidelines.

office@healthwatchbrightonandhove.co.uk

Twitter          - @HealthwatchBH

Facebook      - healthwatchbrightonandhove

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