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Patients facing uphill struggle to see GPs

Patients in parts of England are facing an uphill struggle to see a GP, experts say, after an analysis showed wide regional variation in doctor numbers.

The Nuffield Trust think tank found Kent and Medway had the fewest GPs per person, followed by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

It comes as ministers have struggled to hit the pledge to boost the GP workforce by 6,000 this Parliament.

But the government said it had plans in place to tackle shortages.

However, Dr Billy Palmer, of the Nuffield Trust, said: "Solely boosting the number of staff nationally in the NHS is not enough alone - the next government should set a clear aim of reducing the uneven distribution of key staffing groups and shortfalls to tackle unfairness in access for patients."

The think-tank report found while the government had met its target to increase the number of nurses by 50,000 this Parliament, the rises had not been felt evenly, with some specialist nurse posts, such as health visitors and learning-disability nurses, seeing numbers shrink.

Dr Palmer said minimum numbers of GPs may have to be set for local areas - and better incentives to attract them to those with the fewest.

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Source: BBC News, 8 March 2024


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