Shinfield has the worst patient-per-GP figures in the borough, and they’re getting worse
People are saying how much harder it’s got in the last couple of years to get a doctor’s appointment in the Shinfield area. The reason is clear enough when you look at NHS figures for doctors and registered patients per GP practice*.
Shinfield parish is served by Shinfield/South Reading and Swallowfield surgeries. Together these practices have one fewer GP than they did in early 2018, and patient numbers have been increasing. As a result, each GP in the two practices together had on average well over 400 more patients in September 2019 than in March 2018. These are the NHS-provided figures for patient numbers per GP, grouped by area of the borough:-
Registered patients per GP in Wokingham borough 2018-2019, by area
Av. patients per GP, Mar 2018
No. of GPs in post
Av. patients per GP, Aug/Sept 2019
No. of GPs in post
% increase in patients per GP Mar. 2018 Aug./Sept. 2019
Loddon Vale Woodley
Earley Brookside Winnersh Wilderness
Burma Hills Wok. Med. Cent. Woosehill
Shinfield/Sth Rdg Swallowfield
In the two medical practices serving Shinfield parish, there was an aggregate rise of nearly 18% in just the last year and a half. Patient numbers are rising in many places, but to see this level of increase in such a short time is truly shocking.
These patient-per-GP numbers in Shinfield parish are way out of line with the rest of the borough,. The Shinfield/South Reading and Swallowfield practices together average 2,835 patients per GP. Within that average, the Swallowfield practice, at 2,631 patients per GP, has the second worst ratio in the borough; the worst by far, at 3,172, was Shinfield/South Reading. The reported national average figure is currently running at about 2,100 patients per GP.
Here is proof once again that the housing explosion in our area has gone ahead with little or no regard for residents’ infrastructure needs. You can see that other areas of the borough are not expected to manage with such grossly substandard medical provision, so why Shinfield and Swallowfield?
The Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group’s ‘Wokingham Borough Health & Wellbeing Strategy action plan 2017-2020’ (p. 12) called ‘Shinfield crossroads’ an ‘area of deprivation’, and claimed that reducing health inequalities in our borough was a priority. Good to know that, but it’s not what these patient-per-GP figures tell us.
*These can be found by searching www.nhs.uk by GP practice, e.g. for Winnersh Surgery at https://www.nhs.uk/Services/GP/Overview/DefaultView.aspx?id=44485
Article by Richard R