DOCTORS at a Yorkshire GPs’ practice have written to 10,000 patients warning they can no longer guarantee safe treatment — or any treatment at all — because it is at “breaking point.”
The doctors said GP surgeries across the country are in the same situation.
The warning has caused uproar among patients and health-service campaigners in Calderdale in West Yorkshire, which also faces losing its local hospital’s accident and emergency unit.
Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan pledged to raise the issue in Parliament.
Former Halifax left-Labour MP and ex-nurse Alice Mahon called the situation “outrageous” and called on Labour’s front bench to pledge to take privatised health services back into the NHS if Labour wins next year’s general election.
The letter was sent out by doctors at Keighley Road surgery in Illingworth, a district of Halifax dominated by a council estate.
The letter warned patients that only “medically urgent” cases would get a same-day appointment and others would take two, four or seven days.
“Why are we making this change?” it said. “GP practices in England are at breaking point. GPs currently deal with 90 per cent of all patient contacts in the NHS. However they receive only around 8 per cent of NHS funding. The GPs at Keighley Road already work more than full-time hours and are dealing with an unsustainable number of patients. It is simply no longer safe for them or you.”
Ms Riordan said: “There is a triple whammy because the district faces losing its accident and emergency unit as well, and Yorkshire’s ambulance workers are being so badly treated that they are going on strike.
“Now people are being told they cannot go to their local GPs’ surgery. Patients are very worried.”
Ms Mahon said: “It is absolutely outrageous but it is the tip of the iceberg. This is going to happen at GPs’ surgeries all over the country. Why can’t Labour’s front bench say all health services are going to be brought back into the NHS, so there is no point in private firms bidding for them? The NHS is the most popular service in the country.”