I very much welcome Labour’s pledge to reintroduce a 48 hour GP appointment waiting list guarantee.
This guarantee was scrapped by the Coalition Government within weeks of the 2010 election.
The result is plain to see as I have heard on the doorstep and through social media from hundreds of residents, particularly in Ingleby Barwick and some in Yarm who are now waiting anything up to three weeks to see their Doctor.
It was pure serendipity that the announcement came just weeks after I published in my last Ingleby Barwick newsletter that I would be meeting with the Woodbridge Surgery Practice Manager to discuss their current performance levels. It was a useful meeting where she explained the background behind their surgery, the merger with Barleyfields whose patients needed to be taken into a new practice when they had no available GPs, and how this put a huge pressure on the practice. The Practice Manager took me through some of the measures they are now taking to improve the service they offer to patients through their action plan.
These include recruiting new partners and salaried GPs; extended opening times; offering telephone consultations; access to a full-time Nurse Practitioner on each site who can issue prescriptions and can be available on the same day for urgent need; ordering prescriptions online and checking and cancelling appointments online. Their website is www.woodbridgepractice.co.uk.
Hopefully patients will see waiting times begin to improve over the coming year but with this pledge we should see definite change with a Labour Government.