On Tuesday in Parliament, Richard spoke in the Opposition Day Debate on Access to GP services and NHS Dentistry. This followed his own Westminster Hall debate last week on GP access in North East Bedfordshire, which can be read here.
Speaking after his contribution to the debate, Richard Fuller MP said:
Part of the problem in North East Bedfordshire is that the population has grown so significantly. Since 2000, the number of patients per GP has gone up by about 40% in the constituency.
This population growth significant pressure, which GPs are responding to primarily by recruiting other direct care professionals, such as paramedics and various qualified nurses. Significant efforts are also being made to enable my constituents to contact their GP. One interesting issue in my observations of visiting GP practices over the last six months was that the practice’s choice of phone system had a significant effect. While these measures have a role in providing support to deal with the problems, it has not overcome them.
During the debate I re-stated to the Minister that there are some aspects that can be affected by government. These include the importance of 'infrastructure first' to ensure that services such as GP practices and school places are all in place before construction begins on a new housing development. I also reiterated the necessity to speed up the planning process for new infrastructure to avoid situations like we've seen in Biddenham where land has been allocated for a new healthcare facility for 8 years and building work still has not got underway. I talked about better use of technology which can greatly empower patients and provide far better healthcare outcomes. And finally, I spoke about the need for the government to decide whether it wants the NHS to pursue a partner model and financially reward partners for the extra duties they carry out, or a salary model for all GPs, and then set the direction of travel accordingly.
Richard's contribution to the debate can be watched here.