Figures reveal GP funding slashed in Reading and West Berkshire since 2019

15 Mar 2024
Nurse and family.

Funding for GP services across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West has been slashed by over £20m in real terms since 2019, research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The House of Commons Library analysis looks at funding for General Practices over the past four years once inflation is taken into account. It shows that funding per patient across the local NHS Integrated Care Board area, including Reading, has fallen by 11% since 2019, once inflation is taken into account. This is the worst affected area in the country outside London, with funding per patient effectively unchanged from 5 years ago, despite rampant inflation over that time.

This real-terms cut comes despite growing demand for GP services and patients often having to wait weeks to get an appointment.

Nationally, GP practices have received a 7% real terms cut in funding per patient since 2019, whilst NHS hospital waiting lists are near record numbers at 7.6 million.

Reading Liberal Democrats are calling for patients to be given a legal right to see their GP within seven days, or 24 hours if in urgent need. This would be achieved by increasing the number of fully qualified GPs by 8,000 with an initiative to boost recruitment and retain more experienced doctors.

Helen Belcher, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Reading West and Mid Berkshire said:

“Every day I hear stories about families and pensioners across Reading and Mid Berkshire struggling to see their GP despite requiring medical advice. People are waiting in pain or simply anxious about not getting the care they need.

“It is not right that our community is suffering the consequences of this Conservative government’s neglect of our local health services.

“Rishi Sunak and his failing government are totally out of touch with people’s concerns. Conservative MPs are so busy trying to deflect blame from themselves that they cannot deliver the health services that we so desperately need and rely on.

“Seeing your GP should be at the heart of our NHS. That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a legal right to see a GP within seven days - or 24 hours if in urgent need.”