PARLIAMENTARY hopefuls Rachel Gilmour and Gideon Amos have criticised the Government for letting down people by neglecting local health services, as it was revealed the number of Somerset patients waiting four weeks or longer to see their GP had risen by nearly half.

NHS data showed more than a quarter of a million patients waited 28 days or longer for a doctor’s appointment, 49 per cent more than two years ago.

There was also a 22 per cent rise in patients waiting over a fortnight.

Mrs Gilmour, Liberal Democrat candidate for the Tiverton and Minehead constituency, and Mr Amos, standing for the party in the Taunton and Wellington seat, want legal rights for patients in urgent need to see GPs within 24 hours, or a week if not urgent. 

Liberal Democrat General Election candidate Gideon Amos.
Liberal Democrat General Election candidate Gideon Amos. ( )

The policy would enshrine the right in the NHS Constitution, putting a duty on Government and health service to make sure it happened.

Mr Amos and Mrs Gilmour said it could be achieved by increasing the number of GPs and nurses and pharmacists fully-qualified to prescribe day to day medicines.

Mrs Gilmour said: “Far too many people in Somerset are struggling to get a GP appointment when they need one.

“It is causing people huge anxiety because they cannot be confident any more of getting the care they need.

“This is a problem that has been building under the watch of our ‘part-time’ MP.

“It reveals how little he cares about the constituency he has been paid so handsomely to represent for far too long.”

Mr Amos said: “Just like the Conservatives’ abandoned promise to give Taunton a new hospital by 2030, this shows our community has been totally abandoned by this Government when it comes to local health services.

“Being able to see a GP when you need to should not be too much to ask, but even on this measure people are being failed after years of neglect by this Government.

“That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a legal right for all patients to see their GP within seven days, or 24-hours if in urgent need.”