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Coastal and rural areas suffer the most from the fact that older and vulnerable patients are forced to travel further for appointments (file image)

Hundreds of villages are losing their GP practices, so older and vulnerable patients have to travel further for appointments

  • Coastal and rural areas suffer the most from patients who are forced to travel further
  • Research has shown that 1,946 villagers are not at least three miles from the nearest doctor
  • GPs say that they are not stretched enough because of a shortage of 5000 doctors
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Hundreds of villages have lost their GP practices, according to a national survey.

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Coastal and rural areas suffer the most from the risk that older and vulnerable patients are forced to travel further for appointments.

The survey found that 1,946 villages are now at least five miles away from their nearest GP practice – 162 more than two years ago.

Some patients had to travel up to 14 miles in the rural area.

GPs say that they are not stretched enough because of a shortage of 5000 doctors. They also said that younger doctors are less likely to want to work in the countryside.

Coastal and rural areas suffer the most from the fact that older and vulnerable patients are forced to travel further for appointments (file image)

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Coastal and rural areas suffer the most from the fact that older and vulnerable patients are forced to travel further for appointments (file image)

& # 39; Rural, coastal and deprived neighborhoods always struggle most to attract GPs, but national deficits are hardest hit & # 39 ;, said Helen Stokes-Lampard, president of the Royal College of GPs. & # 39; They are the canary in the mine for a problem across the country. & # 39;

NHS owed £ 600 million in unpaid rent

The NHS owes nearly £ 600 million in unpaid rent from general practitioners, clinics, and hospitals, a large report has revealed.

NHS Property Services, which owns health centers and GP practices across the country, has been criticized for collecting only 58 pence for every £ 1 it owed last year. It has written off a £ 110 million debt and currently still owes £ 574 million – enough money to train 8,228 nurses or 1,202 GPs.

Doctors, however, have accused the body of increasing reimbursements without declaring agreements and bills.

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Despite the performance, last year the chief executive, Elaine Hewitt, received a bonus of up to £ 80,000 on top of her salary from £ 220,000 to £ 225,000. Yesterday's report from the National Audit Office said many NHS organizations and GPs consider paying for their property as optional.

It adds that NHS Property Services has no effective way to get organizations to sign because the service is set up in such a way that it cannot take legal action or remove NHS authorities.

Labor member Meg Hillier, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, said the report & # 39; uncomfortable reading & # 39; and said that the health department must take urgent action to restore this broken-down framework for NHS property. & # 39;

The professor told the Daily Telegraph that rural doctors often had large numbers of elderly patients, long work days and heavy workloads – which amounts to & # 39; relentless pressure & # 39 ;.

& # 39; For many people, the idea of ​​retiring to a coastal village or rural area seems idyllic, but it doesn't always work that way for those who work there, ”she added.

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The most affected districts include South Gloucestershire, South Northamptonshire and Cornwall. Over the past six years, nearly two million patients have been affected by 585 surgical closures, according to data analyzed by Pulse magazine.

Additional figures from the Ministry of Transport show that a peak of 40 percent has occurred in two years in people who have to travel by public transport for more than an hour to go to a doctor.

In 2016, 137,957 families had to travel that far. But in 2014 the figure was 99,516. The number of GPs who retire early, stop working or go part-time is increasing, which makes the situation worse.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the patient association, said the closures meant that patients had to wait longer to see a doctor and ultimately rely on an accident and emergency if they became too sick.

She said: & # 39; Escalating closure rates at nationwide GP practices risks serious consequences for many patients: more trouble making an appointment, waiting longer for people if they are concerned about their health and greater risks & # 39; s for patient safety. & # 39;

In 2016, 137,957 families had to travel that far. But in 2014 the figure was 99,516. The number of GPs who retire early, stop working or go part-time is increasing, which makes the situation worse (file image)
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In 2016, 137,957 families had to travel that far. But in 2014 the figure was 99,516. The number of GPs who retire early, stop working or go part-time is increasing, which makes the situation worse (file image)

In 2016, 137,957 families had to travel that far. But in 2014 the figure was 99,516. The number of GPs who retire early, stop working or go part-time is increasing, which makes the situation worse (file image)

Caroline Abrahams, charity director for Age UK, said: & # 39; These figures are a wake-up call for the NHS – and for anyone who cares about the ability of the elderly to live independently for as long as possible when living in a country or country living environment coastal area. & # 39;

Efforts are being made to recruit doctors from abroad. Mevagissey, a fishing village in Cornwall, launched a campaign – called & Will You Be My GP? & # 39; – to find one to save his operation.

a.clarke@dailymail.co.uk

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