News | Parliamentary Candidate

Stephen Priestley, UKIP Parliamentary Candidate Responds To Local Doctors And Surgery Crisis

03 June 2017

Letter received from GP in Manor Road Surgery, highlighting crisis in primary care across the constituency.

He states that his surgery may face closure and that this could result in 7,300 patients no longer having access to a GP.  Please see his letter and my response below:

"I am writing to you as my potential MP to ask you to inform me about your plans to support general practice.
Every day across the UK, over 1 million patients receive care at their GP surgery. Demand for services is soaring as our population ages and grows, and more and more patients are living with multiple complex illnesses.

Unfortunately, investment in general practice has not kept up with demand and I am concerned at the impact this is having locally and across the country. Whichever party forms the new Government after June 8th it is vital that general practice is at the centre of their agenda.

If you are elected, I am asking you to commit to the delivery of the RCGP’s General Election Manifesto, ‘Six Steps for Safer General Practice,’ which calls on the Government to:

  • Deliver at least 5,000 more full-time equivalent GPs by 2020 and support those GPs who want to continue in practice.
  • Deliver the GP Forward View and the promised investment of £2.4 billion per year by 2020.
  • Extend GP specialist training to four years.
  • Protect EU healthcare professionals during the Brexit negotiations and make it as easy as possible for doctors from the EU to continue to move to and practice in the UK.
  • Tackle the unsustainable cost of medical indemnity insurance.
  • Increase the number of GP nurses, pharmacists, and mental health therapists in general practice.
  • In addition as you are well aware and were invited to meetings held with our CCG and the Patients Groups of all surgeries to highlight:

    • The Folkestone East Practice has handed its contract back to the CCG leaving approximatley 5,000 patients without a GP from November 2017.

    • My own practice The Manor Clinic has been struggling to recruit a new GP for almost 2 years meaning a significant workload on the remaining GPs which has now become unsustainable and we are considering handing our contract back to the CCG leaving 7,300 patients with no GP.

    • Other local practices are also struggling and considering handing back their contracts to the CCG with the potential for 40,000 patients in Folkestone being left with no GP to look after them.

    • There has been a long term failure to invest locally in Primary care servcies ( GPs and Premises) in one of the most deprived areas of the country , leading to the inability to make it attractive to recruit new GPs who elect to go to neighbouring areas such as Canterbury and Ashford where they can enjoy a much better work-life balance, practice from premises that are new and fit for purpose and are significantly better off financially.
  • With the right investment and support general practice will thrive and the NHS will survive.

Please could you let me know your views on the above manifesto and how you will support general practice if elected with a particular emphasis on the crises that exists locally."

Attached is my response to the GP's email:

Many thanks for your email.

Are you currently still in Folkestone? I have just phoned the Manor Clinic in the hope that I could speak with you personally regarding the below, but was advised that you were now on annual leave. I do hope that you are able to retrieve this email nonetheless.

I would be most grateful to meet with you in person, or have a conversation on the telephone about everything you have raised. Specifically, I wanted to ask you whether you would be happy for me to circulate all your excellent points - (anonymously as 'a GP from Folkestone' if preferred) - so that the GP crisis as it truly stands in the constituency gets full media attention.

I want you to know that I would do everything possible if elected to assist you and all your primary care colleagues to secure improvements, starting with addressing the Carr-Hill funding formula: it is incomprehensible to me that GPs in this part of Kent receive less per patient than in more affluent parts of Kent, when the patient population faces far higher rates of morbidity and co-morbid conditions, and also face greater social deprivation!

It may be helpful for me to tell you that I am still actively working in front line mental health services, as an Approved Mental Health Professional, so know first hand the key role that general practitioners play as the 'gatekeepers' to all patients and further services.

So you would have an MP if elected that would truly understand the pressures that GPs face on a daily basis. Incidentally, as an AMHP, I too have the huge daily headache of the consequences of cuts to available beds, cuts to ambulance staff, cuts to the police force - which frequently create unacceptable delays for patients in crisis, who need urgent hospital admissions.

It is not uncommon for me to be unable to make an application under the Mental Health Act, due to the unavailability of a hospital bed for a detained patient - this then places carers, family members, the patient and sometimes the public at risk.

I am attaching my letter to local media, following the recent GP crisis meeting that took place at Sandgate Road, which I was unfortunately unable to attend. My UKIP colleagues, Councillor Frank McKenna and Councillor Mary Lawes were in attendance. Furthermore, I raised the inequity of the Carr-Hill formula on a recent edition of the local Sunday Politics, and will continue to raise your concerns at every opportunity.

Please could you kindly contact me as soon as you receive my email as I want to escalate this matter at the earliest opportunity on your behalf - and if elected, you can rest assured that I will be the strongest possible ally in your corner both locally and in Westminster, to urgently address all the points you raised in your letter.
With all best wishes and I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Stephen Priestley
UKIP Parliamentary Candidate
Folkestone and Hythe Constituency

Follow Stephen on:
Twitter: @UKIPFolkHythe