City leaders came together yesterday (August 4) to discuss how a coordinated approach could be adopted to tackle the issue, while capitalising on the pre-existing work already being undertaken.
The summit was held shortly after a Nuffield Trust report showed that Portsmouth has the highest rate of patients to GPs in the country.
According to figures from the report, the area has 2,438 patients for every GP.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, and cabinet member for health, wellbeing and social care, councillor Matthew Winnington, hosted the event
Gerald said: ‘Everybody recognises that GPs are under huge pressure in Portsmouth, where we have the lowest number of GPs per head of population anywhere in the country.
‘We know how hard our GPs are working and there is no criticism of them.
‘This is about looking at how we can work together to increase capacity and support primary care in Portsmouth.
‘It has been really good to get the health service, GPs and the council together to see what we can jointly do to help residents get to see their GPs and other health professionals in their surgeries.
‘We will continue to work closely with the local NHS, voluntary, and community sector under Health and Care Portsmouth to ensure everyone can live a healthy, safe and independent life with the right health and social care services.’
Council representatives, along with partners from across health and education in Portsmouth, came together at the Civic Offices to hear first-hand the pressures facing GPs and discuss how a joined-up approach can better support primary care services.
Matthew said: ‘This was an excellent opportunity for everyone's voices to be heard, and for us to see how we can use our influence to push for change.
‘We have some excellent work already being undertaken at a national and local level, and it was inspiring to see so many people dedicated to build on that good work and see how we can support primary care as a council.
‘There has never been a more important time to address this issue.’
Topics such as workforce challenges, recruitment and education, and actions already underway through Health and Care Portsmouth were high on the agenda which generated some initial ideas and solutions to consider moving forward.
Jo York, managing director of Health and Care Portsmouth, said: ‘Primary care continues to be the bedrock of our NHS and is vital that we address the workforce challenges facing them.
‘We have already achieved so much through our integrated health and social care model and have worked hard to decrease fragmented care provision in Portsmouth.
‘Through Health and Care Portsmouth we will continue to support and advocate for our GPs and increase provision for the city.’
Ideas and discussions from the summit will now be explored further, with a working group and action plan being developed.
Earlier this year, The News also reported that NHS data showed that by the end of March 2021 just 90 NHS dentists were operating in the city, a 26 per cent fall compared to the previous year.