Former Blackpool schoolboy leads fight against NHS cuts

GP David Wrigley
GP David Wrigley

A former Blackpool schoolboy has been given a top position with the British Medical Association.

GP David Wrigley, who went to St Mary’s High, is now experiencing life in the spotlight as deputy chairman of the organisation.

It’s very difficult to find doctors that will work in accident and emergency because there’s a very severe shortage of doctors in the country now

What he saw as the injustice of doctors’ working hours led him to become an active member of the British Medical Association (BMA).

The 46-year-old father-of-two teenagers left St Mary’s at the age of 16 and worked in a bank.

He said: “I really enjoyed it. But at 21 I decided to change direction. I went back to doing my A-levels and from there luckily managed to get a place at Sheffield University.”

He has worked in North Lancashire and shares concerns over “inadequate resources” in GP practices and Accident and Emergency departments.

He said: “It’s very difficult to find doctors that will work in accident and emergency because there’s a very severe shortage of doctors in the country now.

“There’s a £28bn black hole in NHS funding – politicians don’t really focus on it.

“They try and skip round it. This is going to happen more and more if politicians don’t grasp this nettle about funding.

“In my new role I will be focusing on issues like Chorley Hospital where there is closure of services.

“We’ve got to ask where do patients then go?”

He also acknowledges there is a strong case for the creation of specialist super units.

“I think there’s a case for certain services to be regionalised – one example in Lancashire is cardiac services. They are focused on Blackpool – that’s a brilliant service for my patients. That’s an example of a super unit working really well.

“There’s still a case that we need very strong local district hospitals that provide accident and emergency and all the services for patients that are unwell.

“It’s really important we support that. It’s important services aren’t just rationalised for reasons of cost or lack of staff or lack of funding. We still need a robust district general hospital model.”

He added: “The bigger picture is the NHS needs funding to provide a higher quality service. That’s a political decision.”

Privatisation or contracting out of services is a key concern for the BMA, he said with, profits not channelled back into improving the health service.

He hopes to meet BMA members across the UK as part of a special BMA outreach project.

He is planning to cut his days as a GP in Carnforth from four to three to combine the two roles.