Devon is one of the worst hit areas in the country by the growing shortage of GPs, new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
It comes as many people are struggling to book an appointment with their GP, with services increasingly under pressure from rising demand.
The figures show there is now just one GP per 1,867 people in Devon in June 2021.
On average GPs across Devon each now have an extra 128 patients in their care.
This is up 7% from the one GP per 1,739 people in Devon five years ago.
The number of GPs employed in the area has also fallen by 3% to just 648 in the same period.
Torbay Liberal Democrats said the alarming figures, based on analysis by the House of Commons Library, revealed the stark “postcode lottery” facing GP patients. The party is calling on the government to invest in GP services to ensure people can get a doctors’ appointment when they need one.
Further analysis by the British Medical Association (BMA) shows a dismal picture overall for GPs, with there being the equivalent of over 1,900 fewer fully qualified, full-time GPs now than there were in 2015.
The picture is similarly bleak when compared to the UK’s international neighbours. OECD stats from 2019 show that the UK’s average of three doctors per 1,000 people ranks below the likes of Hungary and Czech Republic, and only just ahead of Brazil and Mexico.
Cordelia Law, Liberal Democrat councillor for Torquay Town Centre and cabinet member for Children’s Services said: “The Conservative government are badly letting down both GPs and patients in Torbay and Devon as a whole, residents deserve a fair deal. Instead of fixing the GP shortage crisis, the Conservatives are making it worse by failing to train the new doctors we desperately need.
“The worsening GP shortage has given rise to a postcode lottery, with our hard-working GPs overstretched and people left waiting too long for treatment or even an appointment.
“Families rely on being able to see a GP when they or their children fall sick to get advice, access treatment and get well again. The government must invest more in our GP practices and train up more doctors, to ensure patients get the fair deal they deserve.”
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