Time for GP surgeries to end appointments postcode lottery – The Yorkshire Post says

NHS hospital staff deserve our thanks for completing almost two million operations, and consultations, in January and February whilst also treating 140,000 Covid patients struck down with Covid.

The post-Covd role of GPs is coming into focus.

This shows the extent to which hospitals have adapted so that medics can continue treating cancer victims, and other people with serious illnesses, in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century.

Families will also welcome the transparency over waiting lists, and will now expect monthly updates from Leeds-based NHS England.

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Yet, as 22,000 people beginning potentially lifesaving cancer treatment in February, the backlog – at a time when many NHS staff are exhausted by Covid – is still significant.

The NHS is dealing with a huge backlog of cancer cases.

This is illustrated by the 174,000 people who have been referred for cancer checks in recent weeks, twice as many as during the peak of Covid’s first wave in April last year.

And this does not account for all those who have not contacted their GP to check out worrying symptoms – either for fear of being a burden or because it has become virtually impossible for some to contact their local surgery and arrange any appointment.

Now there are GP surgeries that are, once again, becoming more accessible, and that is to be welcomed, but the experiences of readers of The Yorkshire Post, judging by their recent responses, has been overwhelmingly negative and points to the emergence of a new, and unhealthy, postcode lottery.

It should not be like this. GPs are the front line of the NHS – and their ability to make a quick diagnosis, or refer patients to hospital for more specialist tests and treatment, is critical.

NHS hospital staff in a Clap for Carers celebration last year.

One year on, they can’t keep using Covid as an excuse – even more so when set in the context of the herculean work continuing to be undertaken by their colleagues in this region’s hospitals.

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Surgeons undertaking an operation at a Yorkshire hospital.