I hope that you have found the election candidate profiles helpful as you decide who to vote for in the May local elections.


I think the quality and commitment of the majority of candidates this time round is to be commended.


I have noticed several common themes in their election literature. One of which was GP waiting times.


It is a fact that we have to wait longer to see a GP than we did 25 years ago but what are the facts here is Pocklington?


My thanks to the Pocklington Group Practice (PGP) for their input into this story.


1. PGP staffing:

  • 10.9 full time GP’s (One GP per week taken away from direct patient facing work to support training of the registrars, attendance at required meetings)
  • 5.7 full time nurses
  • 1 phlebotomist (blood taking)
  • Health care Assistants,
  • Mental health nurse 4 days per week
  • First point of contact physio 1 day per week.

2. There are currently no GP or healthcare vacancies.
3. There have been no recent issues in recruiting GP’s
4. The building infrastructure cannot accommodate any more GP’s.
5. The average UK patient ratio per GP is 2,286. PGP is 1,700 per GP
6. The current waiting time at PGP is between 3 and 4 weeks which compares favourably with our local Practices however, we are working on improvements and some changes to enable us to move to shorter wait times. However, if a specific GP is requested it can be longer.
7. Pocklington Group Practice was designed to accommodate 18,000 patients. Current patient numbers fluctuate between 18200 and 18500. The practice is investigating the potential for additional space however, this will require funding support and central NHS approval.
8. The biggest challenge for the surgery is currently clinical room space. This is currently being reviewed. The practice also have a new GP contract to work to which will have its own challenges regarding access.
9. The practice is always looking to improve the services/patient experience and will need to change the way patients access our services to ensure fairness. The current on the day urgent clinics are being used for non-urgent matters which is partly due to the current waiting time for routine appointments. Going forward PCP aim to achieve no more than 2 weeks for a routine appointment however, this will require a more GP led triage process for both urgent (as currently happens) and routine.


Many thanks again to Pocklington Group Practice for providing such an honest and transparent response.


In summary it seems to me that the practice is being pro active in managing their waiting times as effectively as possible given finite resources. It’s good to hear that they are fully staffed and aren’t currently having problems recruiting GP’s. We should also be thankful that the patient to GP ratio is much lower than the UK average.


With existing developments still completing and another 380 Barratt David Wilson homes in the pipeline pressure on all local infrastructure will increase. So it’s good to hear that surgery staff have identified lack of expansion space as an issue and are looking at ways to address this.


It’s good to see local election candidates recognise important community issues within their election literature but… local ward councillors have no say in the way NHS services are managed, funded or delivered. They can write letters, organise petitions and lobby MP’s but at the end of the day the NHS is the responsibility of central government. Westminster sets the policy and makes the decisions about the NHS including how GP practices are resourced and funded.


The best local ward councillors can do is support our local surgery and lobby our current MP Sir Greg Knight… and good luck with that!

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