IT is not just patients who are struggling; GPs are too (The Yorkshire Post May 25). Most would like to have face-to-face appointments too, but there are too few GPs.
There has been a move to consultation in a Covid-secure way, in other words using technology in just the same way as many of us do business meetings. Not perfect for everyone, but better than having a large number of GPs off sick and even longer waits.
There is also a move back towards more face-to-face sessions, but remember that even now, only half the population has yet been vaccinated – and that some persist in not having the jabs despite the overwhelming benefits of vaccination.
Why are there too few GPs? Blame 11 years of Conservative rule.
1. NHS funding has not kept pace with the ageing population, and as we get older we need more care.
2. Brexit has taken away many European staff, and an unpleasant Home Office has failed to entice replacements from elsewhere; and small wonder, given better working conditions in places like New Zealand.
3. GPs often volunteered to assist other medical specialities during the start of the Covid crisis last spring, and since December have been at the front-line of delivering a very successful NHS vaccination programme.
If the Tories had followed the advice of Project Cygnus, or the PM had attended Cobra meetings last February, or locked down airports a year before they did, then we’d not have seen two exhausting peaks or 130,000 dead.
4. Public health, especially nutrition and healthy exercise-based lifestyles, remain chronically underfunded; costing more in the end due to weight gain, heart overload, joint problems, diabetes etc. It shouldn’t be necessary to visit a doctor to be encouraged to get more exercise, eat less junk food and stop smoking, but it’s often the first port of call.
5. It wasn’t GPs who wasted millions of taxpayers’ money on useless PPE contracts from suppliers with links to members of the Government; nor was it GPs who spent £37bn on a Test & Trace programme which has delivered precious little benefit.
6. Forty new hospitals were promised by the Tories, raising expectations of better healthcare – but those hospitals (if ever built) will remain empty if there are no GPs to determine who should go to them, no hospital doctors to treat them, and no nurses (or other support specialists) to staff those wards.
So, rather than beat up on the dwindling ranks of tired but loyal NHS GPs and nurses, how about we direct our anger at the root cause of the problem instead?
From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.
I USED to agree with the Government that people had enough common sense to judge for themselves how to keep themselves free from the Covid virus. Watching the recent rise in the Indian variant in some parts of the country, and the foolish behaviour of many, I now feel the time is ripe to introduce compulsory vaccination to protect us all from the effects of this deadly persistent virus.