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Government announces plans to tackle GP crisis in rural areas

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Matt Hancock (Health Secretary) acknowledged rising public concern about GP accessibility – and said he had sometimes struggled to get an appointment himself in the past.

The Tories have therefore promised to create 50 million extra GP appointments a year, and appoint 6,000 new doctors, with £2.5bn spending spree to end crisis.

He said the new money would help increase by 15 per cent the number of GP surgery appointments available each year – which currently stands at 307million.

Matt Hancock stated:

"I know what it feels like when you need to see a GP and it’s hard to get an appointment and I want to fix that. I want to see more GP appointments and also make sure that access is fair across the country.

The Tories will today pledge to create an extra 50million GP surgery appointments a year. They want to end the crisis that leaves some patients waiting weeks to see a doctor 

The Tories will today pledge to create an extra 50million GP surgery appointments a year. They want to end the crisis that leaves some patients waiting weeks to see a doctor

At the moment access is easier in some areas than others. There is a particular problem in rural areas and we are focusing on that – and that means getting GPs into the right places and making sure we are making the best use of technology."


The RSN is calling on Government to produce a rural strategy. We have drafted a template strategy which discusses this situation and suggests:

A stronger focus on filling vacancies: recruiting GPs, care workers and other health or social care professionals is difficult in many rural areas.  A growing number of surgeries report unfilled vacancies for family doctors, with postings in smaller or rural surgeries apparently less attractive to trainee and younger health care professionals.  It is important that rural communities benefit sufficiently from the NHS fund to attract recruits into hard-to-fill posts. 

We therefore welcome the focus on rural and we will be monitoring the progress of this important issue with whatever Government is in place after the General election.

→ More detail relating to the RSN call to obtaining a fair deal on health and social care for rural areas can be found here


Full news article:

The Daily Mail - Tories promise to create 50MILLION extra GP appointments a year, and appoint 6,000 new doctors, with £2.5bn spending spree to end crisis

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