Doctor shortages putting care at risk with just one GP for 3,300 patients, ministers have been warned

Swale in Kent was found to have the worst proportion of GPs in England.

It is three times worse off than the best served, Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire, which has one for every 1,200 patients.

The chairman of The Royal College of GPs said the disparity was “shocking”, with care in some areas “not safe”.

Professor Helen Stokes- Lampard said the NHS was 6,000 GPs short. She warned: “Overall we just don’t have enough. We have had a historic underfunding.”

Lib Dem health spokeswoman Judith Jolly added: “Getting access to your GP should never be a postcode lottery.”

PREMIUM LINES FOR FINES FURY

GREEDY councils are forcing drivers to call premium rate phone lines to pay parking fines.

Punters are charged up to 62p per minute to dial 084 numbers when paying with debit or credit cards.

Figures obtained via the Fair Telecoms Campaign show 50 councils, including Nottingham, Milton Keynes and Mid Suffolk, operate the lines.

The campaign’s David Hickson said they were in breach of Cabinet Office guidance which bans the use of expensive numbers for “customer contact”.

The Local Government Association said councils offer a free online service among payment methods.

The BBC analysis probed doctor supply in each NHS area.

The worst behind Swale were Horsham and Mid Sussex with 2,997 patients per GP, Bradford City with 2,587, Thanet in Kent with 2,520 and Bexley in South East London with 2,479.

The best included Camden in North London (1,227), Liverpool (1,283) and North Derbyshire (1,286).

NHS England said it has hiked its family doctors budget and aims to take on 5,000 more.


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