PATIENTS in parts of Somerset have seen a dramatic increase in four-week waits for GP appointments, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire saw a 43% increase in four-week waits last year compared to 2022, according to House of Commons Library research commissioned by the party.

The NHS data measures the time between when the appointment was booked and when it eventually took place. It also showed that the number of appointments patients had to wait two weeks or longer for in Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire spiked by 29% to 147,2967 in 2023, up from 114,4308 the previous year.

This means the proportion of appointments where a patient waited two weeks or longer in the region has risen to 23.6%, up from 19.8% in 2022.

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, has criticised the Conservative government and claims they have neglected local health services.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a legal right to get a GP appointment within seven days, or 24 hours if in urgent need.

The policy would enshrine this right in the NHS Constitution. It would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs, and increasing the number of nurses and pharmacists fully qualified to prescribe day-to-day medicines.

Wera Hobhouse said: “Far too many people in Bath are struggling to get a GP appointment when they need one. It is causing people huge anxiety because they can't be confident any more of getting the care they need.

“It 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 Conservative 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.”