News | District Council

Are Folkestone's Patients’ Lives Worth Less Than Ashford’s?

26 May 2017

UKIP Councillors agree "No more housing until there are enough GPs!"

Following a crisis meeting held by Folkestone GPs and Practice Managers on the 18 May 2017, the UKIP Group at Shepway District Council are calling for a full halt on the council accepting further planning applications for new housing developments, until such time as the current residents see an improvement in the health services availability.

As a local authority, it is Shepway's responsibility to protect and provide to its current residents, and applications which increase the current local population will only put further pressure and demand on our health services, which are currently over stretched.

With the latest news of that the Folkestone East practice is returning its contract back to the CCG, affecting 5,000 patients, and with the current local crisis in GP recruitment experienced by GP surgeries across the District, from Folkestone &Hythe to Romney Marsh, we believe that extreme measures must be put in place to send the strongest possible message to central government.

We appreciate that this is a national issue; however Shepway district is particularly heavily affected due to the following reasons:

  1. GP recruitment is in crisis, and our coastal position means the geographical radius from which health professionals can be recruited is significantly limited.
  2. The Carr-Hill Formula, which is used to calculate primary care funding for GP practices, offers less funding for GPs in deprived areas. For example, the formula calculates Folkestone to receive £114 per head per year, whereas Ashford receives £191 (£77 more than Folkestone) Folkestone receives the second lowest level of funding in the country.

Quite simply, GPs can and earn larger salaries elsewhere.

Social & Economic deprivation brings additional and complex health issues, putting further pressure on our GP services. On top of this, the residents in deprived areas are more less likely to have private healthcare than those in the wealthier areas, again resulting in a higher than average demand on GPs.

 

We know that there is a chronic shortage of affordable housing, however if the infrastructure is not in place to support new residents, a local authority cannot responsibly plan for an increase in its population. Overall the current Conservative government has created the perfect storm locally, and this crisis was highlighted to the CCG and NHS England well over a year ago, with no action taken. 

 

Shepway District Councillor's UKIP Group