Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman has spoken of his frustration following the cancellation of routine surgery due to winter challenges faced by the NHS.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the MP first asked the Health Minister for more action to be taken by Government to increase the number of GPs in order for patient numbers in hospital to be reduced.
He said: “Last Friday, I spent time with a GP practice, where staff confirmed the flu epidemic is one of the worst they have seen for many years. From the perspective of patients, it is wrong that those who have waited months for surgery, perhaps routine, but for a condition that has an impact on their lifestyle, have been told it has been cancelled. We need to change, but I believe we need to change the entire structure.”
Calling for a Royal Commission to look at the way the NHS and Social Care is run, Mr Merriman said: “I want to focus on the pressures facing GP surgeries and the pressures that puts on our hospitals. Too many patients are going to A&E because their GP surgery is not there for them.
“It is clear the GP model that we have continued with since 1947 is not the GP model that younger GPs want to buy into: they do not necessarily want to buy into the practice model, are concerned about litigation and do not necessarily want to stay in the same place for all those years.”
Mr Merriman praised all of the NHS staff who are working hard through the current challenges.
He added: “We are very fortunate to have such amazing staff who are battling on. However, with hospital admissions rising by 40 per cent in the last 10 years, and A&E numbers by 20 per cent, it is clear too many people are going straight to hospital.
“This may not be best for them or for other patients, as the surgery cancellation demonstrates.
“I would like us to address the GP practice model so people have better access. This requires more GPs and, perhaps, the NHS intervening earlier in areas, as we have, where GP surgeries have failed and other good practices have been left picking up the pieces.”
Mr Merriman had also used his speech to again call for all political parties to work together to deliver better care for the elderly.
He said: “In looking at reforms, I would like the Government to consider putting social care on the same footing as the central NHS.”