New research carried out by the Liberal Democrats shows the four-week waiting time to see a GP is three times higher in some rural areas than urban ones.
The figures were published as the party adopts a pre-manifesto at its annual party conference which aims to ‘improve access to GPS in rural areas’.
The House of Commons Library research, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, shows that one in five (20.6%) patients living in rural areas waited two weeks or more for a GP appointment between April and June of this year, compared to 16.9% of those in urban areas.
The divide for waits of four weeks or more for a GP appointment was even more stark. 6% of patients in rural areas faced waits of 28 days or more for a GP appointment, around a third higher than the 4.6% of those facing four-week waits in urban ones.
The figures also show a regional divide, with rural communities in the East Midlands and South West facing the worst GP waits in the country. 6.6% of patients in rural parts of the South West waited 28 days or more for a GP appointment, over three times higher than the 2.1% of patients in London.
The Liberal Democrats are now calling on the government to bring in a new strategy to close the gap in access to primary healthcare between urban and rural areas.
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