Shortage of GPs in Warwickshire is putting extra burden on A&E departments

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File image.

Warwickshire’s shortage of GPs is putting an extra burden on hospital A&E departments according to county councillors who have called for health bosses to answer a series of questions.

Labour leader Cllr Richard Chattaway (Bedworth Central) told this week’s (October 15) full council meeting at Shire Hall that the problem had been long-standing and was only going to get worse.

He put forward a notice of motion calling on the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) and NHS England to attend a future meeting of the council’s adult health and social care scrutiny committee - a call that was backed unanimously by all parties.

Cllr Chattaway said: “If you don’t feel very well and you can’t get an appointment with your GP in a reasonable amount of time, what are your options? You can go directly to A&E where people say to me that they know they are going to get looked at - but it is putting unnecessary pressure on them.

“We have been talking about the shortage of GPs across Warwickshire for numerous years now and it’s not getting any better. The population is growing, we’re living longer and it is more and more pressure on GP services which in turn is putting more pressure on hospitals. It is a problem that needs to be addressed.

“If one part of the system is putting pressure on another part of the system then it has got to be wrong.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr Bill Olner (Lab Nuneaton Abbey) who added: “We need to express to the CCGs our fears for the lacks of GPs and others because it is the lack of GPs quite frankly that is fouling up the system. My own surgery is brilliant but it is four days before you can get an appointment.

“I actually think the real problem is the CCGs and how they allocate resources. In Coventry and Warwickshire we are 180 full-time equivalent GPs short - that is an awful lot of vacancies. That’s just the start because we all know the vacancies that exist within the health service and hospitals so just think of the knock-on effect.

“We are in October and we are already in the winter crisis. We have a rotten foundation and I don’t know if that starts with the CCGs or if they can pass the baton on to somebody else but at the end of the day our communities are suffering and we need to use as much influence as we can.”