A duo of Lib Dems at PMQs highlight GP shortage and medicine issue

Lib Dems are doing very well at Prime Minister’s Questions at the moment. Yesterday, we had two questions to Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab in Rishi Sunak’s absence.

First up, Sarah Olney carried through the theme of the day – GP shortages, highlighting the impact:

From Hansard:

In a shocking article in Surrey Live last year, it was reported that staff at a GP practice in Walton were left in tears and “crumbling under pressure” owing to the increased workload caused by staff shortages. Is that any wonder when there are 850 fewer GPs in the country than there were in 2019? What does the Deputy Prime Minister say to patients left in pain and staff left in tears—including some in his own constituency—as a result of the Government’s failed promise to recruit more GPs?

The Deputy Prime Minister

Any abuse against any GP in any practice anywhere in the country is absolutely wrong, and we must demonstrate zero tolerance of it. I can tell the hon. Lady that there has been a large increase in the number of GP appointments, with 29 million since the start of the year. We are improving access to general practice, with more support staff, and also improving the technology, with more state-of-the-art telephone systems. A record number of GPs are being trained, and we are investing £1.5 billion to create 50 million more appointments a year by 2024.

Next, Wendy Chamberlain raised the issue of her young constituent, believed to be suffering from a severe neuropsychiatric condition, Pans Panda, who can’t get the medication she needs.

From Hansard:

A little girl in my constituency, only nine years old, developed a bacterial infection just before Christmas. Thereafter, very distressing symptoms occurred, such as obsessive compulsive disorder and intrusive thoughts. She has not washed, dressed or properly eaten since Christmas. We believe this to be PANS and PANDA—paediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome and paediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus. Although health is devolved and I am seeking support for her, part of the reason for the lottery and the antipsychotic medication that is often given for this condition—despite the fact that broad-based antibiotics have been proven to work—is that no part of the UK has implemented the World Health Organisation’s ICD 11. Will the Government commit to looking at this, so that other children across the UK do not need to suffer in such a way?

The Deputy Prime Minister

I thank the hon. Lady for raising what seems like an awful case. My heart goes out to the family involved. If she would like to write to me about it, I will make sure that she gets a full answer and a meeting with a Minister if that is required.

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