Selby is the town second furthest from GP surgeries, according to the analysis of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) data. Guardian Carers, a care provider, analysed ‘index scores’ given by the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) to find out the towns with the highest average distance from a GP surgery.
Residents in the North Yorkshire town of Selby were second furthest on average from a GP at 3.85km, just behind West Devon at 3.98 kilometres. But Selby councillors said it is not just the distance to the nearest GP that’s a problem, it is also the lack of public transport.
“Many villages no longer have a surgery,” said Cllr Steve Shaw-Wright, Labour group leader on North Yorkshire Council and a councillor for Selby West. “They rely on the town doctors, bringing into play the difficulties in getting there and back, with the lack of public transport and people relying on friends and family to get to appointments. “The NHS is in poor health. It needs a radical overhaul to provide the services it did offer only a few short years ago. “The people really do rely on the local doctors, who do a fantastic job albeit massively underfunded and understaffed.”
Cllr Jack Proud, Labour councillor for Selby East, said: “This statistic is very worrying and what compounds this is the really poor public transport we have in Selby and North Yorkshire as a whole. “It’s not fit for purpose and our residents travelling to GP appointments either can’t use public transport to attend or it’s that hit and miss they have no real confidence they will be able to make their appointment on time, if at all. “Villages like Whitley lost their service altogether when the 405 service was cut in September last year leaving residents who don’t have access to a vehicle vulnerable and potentially unable to attend appointments which would obviously be detrimental to their health over the short and long term.
“I believe the strain on GPs and doctors’ surgeries is overwhelming and if we don’t look at the problem with infrastructure seriously over the next few years as we continue to build houses this will only get worse and those travelling to see a GP will increase as the population expands. “It seems a no-brainer that the two should go hand in hand, but as with everything we seem to be continually trying to catch up instead of being proactive in making sure areas are ready for the houses we need to build.”
A spokesperson for Guardian Carers said: “Many of these rural areas distance to a GP is inflated with the lack of infrastructure compared to more built-up areas. “This is especially true if these same areas have limited to no public transport, and in addition, the fluctuating price of fuel in recent years. “A small check-up can be the difference between a quick and instant treatment to a longer-term health concern and the distance needed to travel to a GP may play an important part in whether people make an appointment.”