MP Ian Liddell-Grainger is to meet Health Secretary Victoria Atkins to try to improve NHS services for families in rural areas.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said many rural communities were experiencing a poor deal because of a scarcity of GPs.

He is asking Ms Atkins for more resources to set up and maintain country medical practices.

Mr Liddell-Grainger represents West Somerset and will be the Conservative General Election candidate in the new Tiverton and Minehead constituency.

He said countryside dwellers were worst affected by a shortage of doctors which often left patients waiting weeks for an appointment.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “The general trend in recent years has been the concentration of medical services in larger centres of population with a commensurate loss of country GPs.

“This impacts unjustly on thousands of rural families, leaving them to make sometimes lengthy journeys to keep an appointment, not always so easy when using public transport.

“But they make exactly the same National Insurance contributions as anybody else and therefore are entitled to receive the same level of service as those in towns and cities.

“We have a model of how medical services can be delivered in the Dunster and Porlock practice, which is constantly being praised for its outstanding quality of service to the community.

“I have heard nothing but highly favourable comments about it.

“But there are many areas of the country which are not so well served and we absolutely must look at ways of attracting more GPs to work in country areas.”