Liberal Democrats challenge GP waiting times after COVID

Oldham’s Liberal Democrats have taken up the problems that many residents currently face on waiting times to get an appointment with their GP, after they uncovered that the data on which practices were doing well or poorly was not even being collected.

Leader of the opposition on Oldham Council, Howard Sykes MBE, said: “Too many people are not getting the service they need from their GPs, and we were not getting any reasonable explanation as to why.

Howard Sykes

“GP numbers in Oldham have risen over the last six years, while patient numbers per GP have fallen, yet that doesn’t match with people’s experiences of struggling to see a doctor.

“After asking the Health and Wellbeing Board (16/11/21) for answers, I have been told that they will now start collecting this data, and we can start to find out why there are a few GP practices that seem to be doing so much better than others.”

Between 2015 and now, GP numbers in Oldham have increased by 10%, and patient numbers per GP have fallen by 6%, according to an analysis of the House of Commons data by the Liberal Democrats.

Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani added: “Every time there is a report in the press about GP waiting times, you can see from the reaction it gets that people are generally really angry about how long they are having to wait. However, certain practices are clearly excluded from this.

Sam Al-Hamdani, shadow cabinet for housing and homelessness

“It is ridiculous that we can see from this anecdotal evidence that some practices are managing to buck the trend, but that the information that could help change this was not even being recorded.”

Councillor Sykes concluded: “This is simply about sharing good practice. Everyone deserves the same level of service, not the lottery they are currently getting.”

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