CONCERNS have been raised at the lack of GPs operating across Thurrock.

There are currently 1,952 people seeing each GP in the borough, on average more than 400 per doctor over the national average. It is thought that there are around 80 GPs operating in just over 40 surgeries in Thurrock - meaning booking an appointment can be a challenge.

Councillors say they concerned at the lack of GPs but are looking to challenge the shortage, with the council having taken over responsibility for Public Health in Thurrock in April. However, GPs are the responsibility of the new NHS England Essex team.

Cllr Barbara Rice, portfolio holder for health said: “In December, Thurrock had three practices in the bottom ten per cent across the whole Midlands and East Region and with the next survey due out shortly.”

Cllr Hebb, shadow health portfolio holder, added: “We want to put the health of Thurrock people at the top of every agenda and that means having enough top-quality GP services and enough GPs to provide those services for all our residents.”

“When people find it difficult to get a quick appointment at their GP there is an increased tendency for them to head straight to A&E and that’s something the government, the NHS and everybody working in health and care is trying hard to prevent.”

Improving primary care is one of the Thurrock Health and Wellbeing Board’s priorities and with the first draft of the Essex Primary Care Strategy due to be consulted upon soon, the council will be asked its views.

Workshops could be held in Thurrock as part of the plans.