The need for more family doctors in Lancashire is now ‘urgent’, according to an independent health group.
Research carried out by Healthwatch Lancashire found half of all patients struggled to get an urgent same-day appointment, while one in five said it was hard to get routine appointments.
Chairman Mike Wedgeworth said: “The Government has promised to provide for 5,000 new GPs by 2020 and Healthwatch Lancashire’s feedback from the public shows that they are urgently needed.
“Our research shows that, whilst everyone who works in the NHS is hugely appreciated by those who use it, there is a growing problem of finding timely appointments with our GPs.
“So, it must be good news that the number of GPs in training is going up.
“But it takes at least seven years to train a GP. Meanwhile, in Lancashire, there are fewer GPs than there were two years ago, and the numbers in some parts of the county are going significantly into reverse.”
Dr Amanda Doyle, top doctor at Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for organising and paying for residents’ healthcare, said: “Evidence shows that if trainee GPs have a good experience in their placements, they are likely to stay in the area.
“Part of our work is to ensure that this is possible, so strengthening the local GP workforce.”