BLACK Country Labour candidate Natasha Millward is calling for people across Dudley to be given better access to their GP after figures revealed many patients are having to wait at least seven days for an appointment.

The latest survey from NHS England shows nearly 40,000 people across Dudley are experiencing delays in getting an appointment with their GP and nearly 30,000, as a result, would not recommend their GP practice.

In Dudley South, according to NHS England's practice report for July, the surgery with the highest percentage of patients who have waited more than a week for an appointment was Rangeways Road Surgery in Kingswinford. Figures show 27 per cent of patients had to wait seven days or more to see their GP or nurse and only 25 per cent managed to score an appointment on the same day.

Natasha Millward, Labour candidate for Dudley South, said: "It’s not right to have to wait seven days or more to see your GP. That’s got to change.

"But, this isn’t about blaming GPs. Blame lies with this Tory-led government and its unwanted re-organisation and commercialisation of the NHS.

"We’ll guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours, or the same day if necessary."

Dudley South Conservative MP Chris Kelly, however, said: "I know GPs are under increasing pressure and we know there’s rising demand, which is why this Government is offering 7.5 million more people additional appointments, and restoring proper family doctoring through named GPs for older people.

"Labour vandalised the relationship between doctors and their patients through their botched 2004 GP contract, damage which we’re repairing.

"The Prime Minister’s £50 million Challenge Fund will help over 1,100 practices to develop new ways of improving GP access, including better access to GPs in evenings and at weekends and greater use of telephone, email and skype consultations."

Dr Jas Rathore, Dudley CCG board member and lead clinician for Improving Access to Primary Care, said: “Each year, GPs in Dudley provide 1.6 million appointments to patients.

"Primary care services are the foundation of local healthcare and over 90 per cent of all patient contact with the health service happens in primary care.

"We acknowledge there are access issues nationally and locally and that there is variation between practices in Dudley. This is due to rising demand along with a growing and ageing population, where increasing numbers of patients have more complex conditions.

"Our practices work very hard to ensure patients receive a same day appointment where clinically needed. However, by the patient's own choice they may often wait for a more convenient appointment, which we feel may reflect in the survey results."

The best performing surgery for same day appointments in Dudley South was Summerhill Surgery in Kingswinford, where 48 per cent of patients managed to secure an appointment on the day - NHS figures show.

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