'We are facing the perfect storm' - Gloucestershire GP on rising pressure faced by NHS

  • Watch Max Walsh's report

More than 30,000 patients in Gloucestershire had to wait more than a month for a GP appointment in September, making it one of the worst areas for waiting times in the country.

NHS figures show the number of patients waiting more than two weeks to see a GP in the county has doubled in the space of a year.

Doctor Jim Holmes has been working at Rowcroft Medical Centre for 14 years, where staff are now working at capacity.

"We are the busiest that we've ever been, I think", he told ITV News West Country.

"We are dealing with increasingly complex problems. Some left over from a couple of years of lockdown. We're seeing lots of mental health issues left over from that.

"We still have lots of patients with long covid who are really struggling to come out of the pandemic.

"And you've got to combine that increased demand with the fact that our staffing levels are going down.

"It means we are facing the perfect storm at the moment."

In a visit by the the Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, Labour pledged to guarantee face-to-face appointments, double the number of medical school places and bring back the family doctor.

The Shadow Health Secretary visited Gloucestershire today (3 November)

"At the heart of the NHS crisis is a staffing crisis. The Conservatives have fail to recruit the number of doctors and nurses that the NHS needs and that's why Labour's put the workforce at the heart of our plan to deliver high quality, fast, accessible care for patients", he said.

Retaining staff is an issue currently faced by the health service - many having told ITV News they are leaving the profession early due to stress and working conditions.

There are currently around 700 doctor vacancies and more than 3,500 nursing vacancies in the South West.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he will prioritise recruiting more medics so everyone can have access to the healthcare they need.

He has also said he wants to change pension rules, which means many medics can retire early, to incentivise more people to return to the profession.