Bradford South MP Judith Cummins on GP appointments

EARLIER this month I visited St Luke’s Hospital to learn more about the brilliant work of the NHS Virtual Wards, where patients can access the care they need from home, safely and conveniently. practice.

Many of my constituents receive excellent care as a result, and it was a vital opportunity to thank the team who work diligently, day in and day out, to keep our loved ones safe.

Virtual services demonstrate the best of technology integration in NHS care using remote monitoring apps, wearable medical devices and pulse oximeters combined with life-saving face-to-face care to ensure people receive the medical care they need.

This contrasts sharply with the concerns that some constituents and clinicians have recently raised with me that many GPs still mark patients’ medical notes as “telephone consultation during Covid-19″ – even though these consultations only took place over the past few weeks.

This echoes the many emails, letters and calls I receive from constituents frustrated that they cannot get GP appointments and when they finally can they will be told it will be by phone.

I was told of a newborn who was diagnosed over and over again by phone only to end up in the emergency room after vomiting blood. I have been told of a pensioner who was prescribed antibiotics three times via a telephone consultation with a GP only to end up in the emergency room with heart failure.

GP practices are the bedrock of the NHS, but the pressures they face predate Covid, with rising demand, declining numbers of GPs and underinvestment.

It is unacceptable that vulnerable and elderly people end up with irregular phone checks, often putting them at risk of misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis.

This is why I raised this issue with the new Health Secretary in the House of Commons last week. In May this year, 350,000 of West Yorkshire’s 1.3 million medical appointments were made over the phone.

This means that months after all restrictions were lifted, more than a quarter of appointments were still taking place by phone, compared to just one in ten before the pandemic.

These appointments have their place and can be a useful tool. However, they should be the exception and the patient’s choice, not the norm.

And these problems are only part of the larger conservative failure.

In the Prime Minister’s final Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Boris Johnson boasted that his mission in office had been “largely accomplished”. Yet in May this year there were still 6.6 million people on NHS waiting lists. Of these, almost half a million will have to wait more than a year.

The situation is so dire that some patients have taken out personal loans to get the treatment they need privately.

On top of that, we’re facing the biggest cost-of-life crisis in memory. Inflation is near double digits, energy costs are skyrocketing and fuel costs nearly £2 a liter putting even more pressure on people’s wages after years and years of price hikes missing salary.

Families have to cancel a long-awaited vacation because the government can’t handle the backlog at the passport office.

Basic day-to-day public services have been decimated, making it almost impossible to do even simple things like booking a face-to-face appointment with a GP. If this was a “largely accomplished” mission, I dread to think what the outgoing prime minister’s end goal was.

For weeks I have been calling on the government to step in to support our vital industries, households and community groups.

In Bradford we have many businesses that are high energy industries that face exceptionally high gas prices with no price cap to protect them.

While I pushed the government in a debate in Parliament to address the issue, protect jobs and support our world-class manufacturers and supply chains, the Minister failed to answer a single one of my eight questions, sat on his cell phone, then quit. from his post an hour later.

This government must take the energy crisis seriously because the potential impact on jobs and British industry is too great to ignore. The Conservative government, preoccupied with infighting and without a real plan, has left the country in a state of disrepair and facing immense challenges.

Businesses and households across the country continue to struggle to cope.

And, instead of working to resolve these issues, the last few months at Westminster have been overtaken by a divided Tory party, leading to a leadership race that has me wondering if there is even a minister in office who will show up and do something about the crises we face.

Bradford and the country deserve better. We must work with businesses, rather than abandon them, to ensure equitable growth and secure our future. We need to reinvest in public services and our NHS so that, in principle, people can get the appointments they need.

As an MP, my job is to put my constituents and my country first and focus on improving the lives of the public, and we need a government that does the same.

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