Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has highlighted new Government figures which show a huge increase in vacancies for general practitioners in Hertfordshire this year. They show the county now has 60 vacancies compared with only three last year. This is the largest fall in GP recruitment and retention across the country.

    Peter Lilley said:

    “Although this problem afflicts almost every county in England and Wales, Hertfordshire has suffered the largest increase in GP vacancies. It is no longer good enough for the Government to quote year on year spending increases for the NHS, when the situation on the ground is getting worse.

    “Last week, I met a leading local GP who spelt out how Government interference and centralization is demoralizing doctors. It is no wonder that general practitioners are finding it hard to remain in the profession when they face such pressure from above.

    “It is not just primary care in Hertfordshire which is facing serious problems. Government figures published last week also show deterioration in hospital treatment. The proportion of patients waiting longer than 12 months for in-patient treatment is currently 6.1% in Hertfordshire – substantially higher than the 4.4%% average for England.

    “Indeed the national average of 4.4% is far worse than when Labour took office in May 1997. Then the proportion of patients waiting longer than a year was only 2.7%.

    “As well as urging the Government to address these very serious problems, I am writing to the Secretary of State for Health to see whether GPs? pay can be adjusted to reflect the high cost of living in areas such as Hertfordshire.?