East Riding councillors agree motion to lobby the Government for more GPs and dentists

East Riding of Yorkshire councillors have backed a call to lobby for more GPs and dentists after hearing one patient was in hospital for a week after failing to get an appointment.

By Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)
Friday, 1st July 2022, 8:55 am
East Riding councillors backed a motion from Liberal Democrat Cllr and Bridlington Town Mayor Mike Heslop-Mullens which calls for the Government to be lobbied over unacceptable numbers of GPs and dentists.
East Riding councillors backed a motion from Liberal Democrat Cllr and Bridlington Town Mayor Mike Heslop-Mullens which calls for the Government to be lobbied over unacceptable numbers of GPs and dentists.

East Riding councillors backed a motion from Liberal Democrat Cllr and Bridlington Town Mayor Mike Heslop-Mullens which calls for the Government to be lobbied over unacceptable numbers of GPs and dentists.

Cllr Heslop-Mullens told councillors research showed the East Riding had the third lowest number of GPs per 100,000 people, 80 on average and as low as 27 in coastal areas.

Conservative council leader Cllr Jonathan Owen said vitriolic attacks levelled at GPs due to difficulties getting appointments were driving more professionals out of the sector.

It comes as Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Cllr Denis Healy said one local patient was in hospital for a week after calling 999 because they could not get an appointment.

Cllr Healy added the NHS stated in 2015 it would need 5,000 more GPs in the coming five years but there was now 1,300 less overall.

The councillor said: “The Kings Fund says GPs are now a profession in crisis.

“They are the bedrock of the NHS, if general practice fails then the system fails.”

Cllr Heslop-Mullens said the lack of GPs and dentists was totally wrong.

The Liberal Democrat said: “We need to get something done about this.

“There’s a lot of confusion among people when they try and ring to get an appointment, the answer is there’s too few people.”

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr David Nolan, who seconded the motion, said in parts of the East Riding there was a desert in availability of NHS dentists.

Cllr Nolan said: “The route some have gone down is to go private but not everyone can afford that.”

Conservative Cllr Ben Weeks said someone told him they tried to call a practice to book an appointment to find 100 people waiting in a queue in front of them.

Cllr Weeks said: “This is incredibly important and there’s nothing more important than access to health care.

“At the moment there’s a postcode lottery across the East Riding when it comes to accessing health care.

“When someone can’t do something as basic as booking an appointment because there’s no one there to answer the phone we know there’s a problem.”

Conservative Cllr Leo Hammond said more needed to be done to attract GPs from elsewhere to the area to boost numbers.

Cllr Owen said there needed to be a balance struck between what the council could do to help boost the number of professionals without stirring up more problems.

The leader said: “The problem at the moment is the effect coronavirus has had on GP practices.

“GPs have gone from being held in high esteem by their communities to facing vitriolic attacks.

“We’ve now got very experienced GPs leaving the profession because of the perception of the profession.

“Hopefully we can start to move forward positively on this.”