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Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali says save local GP surgeries

PUBLISHED: 10:10 28 May 2014

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There’s nothing more important than seeing your GP quickly and without fuss.

Yet recent cuts threaten surgeries across east London.

Changes to the NHS GP formula are diverting money, which used to be spent on supporting GPs in deprived communities, to rural areas.

In the UK, 98 surgeries in areas of poverty may close – five are in Tower Hamlets.

Long waits for appointments are already a reality for many. These moves will restrict access to healthcare, have a devastating effect on lives and pile pressure on A&E services.

One practice at risk is in Jubilee Street, Shadwell, with 13,000 patients. GPs are concerned that funding changes might mean the end of their work in our community within a year.

That’s why Jim Fitzpatrick MP and I spoke up for our surgeries in Parliament.

It’s also why I stood with Labour councillors campaigning to save the five surgeries in our area.

In the debate, I asked why Tower Hamlets, with high levels of health inequalities, was being hit so hard. The debate showed the government has no good answer.

Tower Hamlets has the fastest growing population in the UK and high levels of deprivation. With such demand, it’s shocking that the Tory-led government seems intent on playing politics with this decision.

Labour has pledged that, if elected, patients in England would get a GP appointment within 48 hours. Those with urgent problems would be guaranteed a consultation sooner. This is a fight to save the most basic and important of our vital services.

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