Britain’s leading GP has warned that patients could leave the NHS because of long waiting times to see a family doctor.
In a worrying insight into NHS resources, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, says family doctors are ‘really struggling’ to cope with escalating demands on them, resulting in ever longer waiting times. She believes people will seek alternatives to the health service, because of waits of up to four weeks to get help.
As part of a much needed £20 billion boost for the NHS promised by Theresa May, the Royal College is asking for a cash injection of £12 billion for GP services. It says extra funds are needed to recruit frontline staff to surgeries and invest in technology and better access to diagnostics.
Without additional funding, Dr Stokes-Lampard believes waiting times for GPs are likely to worsen, driving patients away and widening inequalities.
As Britain’s leading GP, Dr Stokes-Lampard has previously spoken about the ‘serious risk’ extended waiting times can pose to patients – and she is right to do so. As medical negligence specialists we have seen on numerous occasions how a delay in diagnosis can make the difference between a full recovery and permanent harm. Her comments need to be taken seriously as longer waiting times endanger people’s health.