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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Long waits for appointments blamed on a shortage of GPs in Barrow

LONG waits for an appointment with a doctor are due to a shortage of GPs, says a health boss.

George Naysmyth, medical director at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, spoke at the second “listening event” at The Forum in Barrow.

Mr Naysmyth said estimates from the NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group suggested Barrow had a shortage of around 10-15 GPs.

He said: “Recruitment into remote communities is not as easy as it used to be. Now in general practice we have lots of people who want to work in large practices where they have got lots of people they can defer to.

“The other issue is that people who work in the hospital sector would much rather be one of 15 consultants in a big city hospital rather than four or five in a remote hospital like Barrow.”

Mr Naysmyth said delays in being able to see a GP were one of the main complaints from members of the public attending the listening events.

Dr Arabella Onslow, deputy lead GP for Furness at the CCG, said despite a reduction in attendance from the previous event, she hoped the scheme would lead to a regular forum for people to raise their concerns.

She said: “This is part of a lengthy process, and this time last year we had nothing. The principle of being accessible is very important, and for us the biggest underused resource in the NHS is the general public.”

Dr Onslow also raised the possibility of a regular “pop up shop” type event, as seen recently in Millom, where clinicians spent a day in a cafe meeting members of the public.

Stephen Turner, from Walney, said the events were a good way for people with mental illnesses to find out more about the support available and to raise concerns about a lack of communication.

He said: “A lot of people don’t know which way to turn. This is a good idea.”

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