September 26, 2022

Bradford Council Chief Raises Concerns Over GP Access

In a meeting of the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Board, Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said that people were “very concerned” over access to GP appointments.

Members had met to discuss a report Healthwatch, which highlighted people’s experiences of accessing GP appointments, NHS dentistry, mental health support, and more.

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “From what I hear on the doorstep, people are very concerned about it. It is also starting to fracture the relationship between people and their GPs, I would suggest. GPs have always been very trusted, well-liked members of the community and this is not positive really for that relationship going forward and that’s a very important relationship people have when they need to listen to that trusted advice from GPs.”

She also added that health inequalities could become further entrenched and pleaded that those in charge should check and be sure that the online support people are being given is appropriate.

Cllr Hinchcliffe called for national lobbying on GP practice places and said: “This isn’t going to get any better unless we solve that problem nationally, so there’s something about articulating about how many more medical students we need in the region to provide sufficient supply for the future.”

Additionally, Councillor Sarah Ferriby (Lab, Wyke) said the system has changed but that GP practices haven’t really said why there have been these changes.

She said: “We’ve got a society that’s used to ringing up the doctors, making an appointment and you see the doctor.” We’ve got a system that’s changed, but they haven’t communicated with the service users, so actually the pressure and frustrations that then go through patients into GP practices are caused by the frustration of the patient and the customer not knowing why these changes have taken place.

“It’s about the appropriateness of an appointment for some assistance that you need. For example, I know someone who has a serious chest condition, who got a telephone appointment for a breathing test.

“All they asked them ‘how’s your breathing, are you using your inhalers?’ Actually, what that person needed was a lung function test and that didn’t take place so that then frustrates them, and it rattles down because people talk.

“We all know patient lists have increased exponentially and there’s a lot of pressure, but I think actually, some of that communication could assist some of the frustrations.”

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