Labour is continuing to raise the alarm about the Folkestone GP crisis.
Laura Davison, Folkestone and Hythe candidate at the General Election said: “The more we know about the impact of the GP crisis, the more worrying it is. We have been contacted by groups and individuals speaking up about their concerns that vulnerable people are slipping through the net; either because they haven’t been allocated to a new practice, or because they haven’t completed the registration process at their new surgery. This could mean people won’t get invitations to cancer screening programmes and it will also stop people being able to access crucial help from other services.”
According to figures released last week, 4,172 patients from Folkestone East Family Practice have now been allocated to a new surgery either automatically, by filling in a preference form or registering directly. It still leaves hundreds unaccounted for. The number who have actually completed the full registration process is not clear but is thought to be much lower. Labour is concerned that many people will struggle to complete the process without additional support.
The CCG has said it can’t share a breakdown of how many patients have been allocated to which new practice, but it’s known that a large number that put Sandgate Road Surgery as their first choice were not allocated there because they live outside the registration boundary.
Labour is trying to ascertain how many patients who Folkestone East Family Practice classed as vulnerable remain without a GP. Former patient David Horton is calling on the CCG to automatically allocate this group to a new practice:
“We’re talking about some of the most vulnerable people living in our community. It would be a simple way to end the uncertainty which in some cases is making people ill and make sure they are allocated to a GP practice. Then we need to make sure everyone can actually access help when they need it, and for that we need more GPs.”
The CCG has said that if a patient contacts a practice but they have not been registered at that point, they will still be seen and treated in the normal way, but Labour is aware of a patient being told to go to A&E as they were not entitled to an emergency appointment because their registration was not yet complete.
The CCG has said that no new registration events are planned to help people complete the process.