Not enough GPs to serve people in new homes around City Fields in Wakefield, councillors fear

Concerns have been raised that there may not be enough GP practices to serve new housing developments in Wakefield.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 24th January 2020, 4:51 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 4:53 pm

Thousands of new homes are being built on the eastern side of the city, the flagship City Fields estate among them.

But councillors have expressed fears that there's not enough space left at current doctors' surgeries to serve new residents, and that even if new practices are set up they will not be able to cope with that many people.

Local health chiefs said at a scrutiny meeting on Thursday they were "actively working" on the issue.

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Labour councillor Kevin Swift said: "I think in almost every case, the physical sites are bang up to capacity. So the opportunity for on site expansion is not good.

"The biggest problem is the area east of Aberford Road and east of the Eastmoor estate.

"Many of us round this table and outside of this room are quite critical of our own planning service, in the sense that the housing development went ahead without reference to the necessary support services that are required."

Coun Swift said a lack of easy access to surgeries was also proving a problem to residents in the city. He said he was aware of one practice which elderly residents avoided using because the road alongside it is too dangerous to walk across.

Wakefield East councillor Olivia Rowley also suggested that GP practices "won't be able to cope with the pressure" of new homes..

But Mel Brown, from Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said that every doctor's surgery in the district currently had space for new patients.

She said: "People who move to our area can get registered with a practice at the moment. In other areas, unfortunately, they are under significant pressure.

"We are working with developers to see what our options are.

"I do want to give an assurance that we are conscious of this. We are actively working on it. We've got an estates manager working on a whole range of proposals at the moment."

GP Dr Greg O'Connor said the CCG were "mindful of the issues" presented by the new homes.

He added: "We do have a reasonable understanding of where the pinch points are and where the expansion will be needed.

"I'm not going to pretend for a moment that it's going to be easy, but I think we've got a sense of it."

Local Democracy Reporting Service