Broken manifesto promises on GP numbers have real life consequences – letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

I note, with much concern, that health minister Savid  Javid has admitted that the Tory manifesto promise of an additional 6000 GPs, will not be met. It is suggested they had not taken retirements into account!

I also note with some scepticism, that he appears to have failed to give any indication as to how far short their recruitment and training will fall. The only figures that appear readily available are from the BMA that suggest we are now have 1800 full time equivalent GPs fewer than we had in 2015 (Guardian 2/11/21) and I am left wondering if any of the 6,000 extra GPs promised will be found.

We know that GPs and all in NHS have been subject not only to great covid pressures but also from ill-founded and inexcusable criticism from the government and a rotten press. A previous health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, made it known he had failed to take retirements into proper account so the issue was already flagged.

I am particularly wary of statements that lack useful and important detail for, a few years ago, I was placed on an NHS  waiting list. Fair enough, I expected some wait even though I was classed as an urgent case and my consultant and GP wanted me in and operated on within three days. I ended up waiting, along with many others, for seven months. I wondered about those others and the size of the waiting list and checked the numbers on the respective health authority website. For the speciality concerned, all aspects of it and many life-threatening, the list exceeded 9,000 patients. It became clear there are waiting lists, and there are waiting lists.

I do not blame my GP, my consultant or the NHS: they can only do what a limited number of doctors and limited facilities allow. I do blame governments, and I do blame chairs of health scrutiny committees who pushed for the closure of cottage hospitals resulting in the bed blocking that we have in main hospitals.

I know full well that I am but one of many thousands who are being failed by health ministers who haven’t the decency to demonstrate the transparency they claim to uphold, and who feed us misleading information.

I have tried many times, through FOIs, to get full answers to misleading and incomplete  government statements, but inevitably I hit Gove’s ‘protection department’ so , in this case, I have asked my MP to get the GP numbers.

In a similar vein of wanting to know accurate facts, I have also asked him about why he chose not to vote in the Paterson fiasco. I think we are all entitled to understand our elected members’ thinking on such a crucial standards issue.

(Full name and address supplied)