EASTBOURNE MP Caroline Ansell has been talking of ‘unprecedented challenges’ facing our GPs in Eastbourne and beyond:

“Access to face to face GP appointments has been very much in the news and raised also in Parliament this week. I have been speaking to GPs across Eastbourne and Willingdon over many months and their dedication to their patients should not be in doubt.

Surgeries have been operating under unprecedented challenges for more than 18 months. They are playing a vital part in the successful vaccine roll out. Now they are front and centre of the NHS’s Covid recovery and I would like to express my support for them. I have been very unhappy to see the attacks they have received on social media, in particular around appointments.  One surgery has had to call for Police assistance three weeks in a row. 

I know some patients are frustrated they have not seen a GP face-to-face, and I understand that frustration. There are no easy answers in dealing with such increased demand. It is important to recognize that of the 66% of patients who want face to face appointments, 58% and rising are being seen.      

But in part what we are experiencing is change.  Alongside our GPs, a host of health and wellbeing professionals will increasingly come into play. Technology in the form of e-consult and telephone calls are here to stay and can be a very effective way to access services in many cases.

I do not think the British Medical Association’s threat of strike action is helpful. What will help is us appreciating the stress practices are under, the tremendous work they do and on a practical level, pivoting to pharmacies in the first instance, especially for the more minor ailments. 

And can I take this opportunity to thank all our key workers in Eastbourne & Willingdon who have worked tirelessly for so long now.”