Council are calling for extra funding to help attract GPs

Councillor Sheila Bibb
Councillor Sheila Bibb

Council leaders say lives “could be put at risk” because of a serious shortage of family doctors in the Gainsborough area.

West Lindsey District Council is calling on other authorities to join them in demanding extra funding to attract new GPs,

Pottergate Surgery, Gainsborough.

Pottergate Surgery, Gainsborough.

after it was revealed some practices have four-week waiting times to see a GP.

Civic leaders say the GP-to-patient ratio is only half what it should be in Gainsborough and the Government needs to take action.

Councillor Sheila Bibb, council prosperous communities committee chairman said: “I am concerned the lack of GP’s in rural areas could put people’s lives at risk.

“Patients are being told they have a three or four-week waiting list, because there are not enough GPs to see them.

“With conditions like this, how are doctors expected to diagnose serious illness such as cancer early in time?

“My constituents are already talking about the need to be assertive just to get an appointment.

“But what about those who are not assertive and don’t want to burden the system? They simply won’t seek help.

“If we don’t act now, accident and emergency departments will continue to be stretched and there is a risk people’s lives could be put at risk.

“We are calling on a fairer system, like they have in London to attract GPs to rural areas.

“Not only is there a postcode lottery, but there is a rural and city lottery.”

The GP-to-patient ratio should be 1,750, but in Gainsborough it is 3,000, while the number of GPs in Lincolnshire is 360 when it should be 420.

In January, Pottergate Surgery in Gainsborough closed after new management could not be found for the centre.

Manjeet Gill, council chief executive, is seeking support from bosses at other authorities.

She said: “We recognise this issue is not isolated to rural areas like ours, which is why we need to work together as a collective voice to make changes.

“We have discussed the motion with SPARSE, which is made up of rural local authorities and the District Council’s Network has also been approached for its support in this matter.

“To hear people have a four-week waiting list to see a GP is not right.”