MP JEREMY Hunt met up with Haslemere resident and cancer campaigner Rod Pluthero last Friday (February 4) to mark World Cancer Day.
Mr Pluthero, 73, is supporting the MP’s campaign to raise funds for a new £30 million Cancer & Surgical Innovation Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
It comes after he was forced to travel up to 40 miles for cancer treatment early in the pandemic – including to Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead to have part of his jaw removed.
For the latest on Mr Hunt’s campaign, see www.jeremyhunt.org/cancer
The Herald understands Mr Hunt also met with Haslemere GP Dr Phil Ridsdill-Smith last Friday (February 4), and a week earlier with GPs in Farnham, to discuss the pressures on general practice.
“This of course is highly relevant to the inquiry into the future of general practice my select committee has just launched,” the MP, and chair of the government’s health and social care select committee, said after the Farnham Park Health Group round-table event.
“The biggest problem is workforce shortages: they had to merge River Wey and Ferns Medical Practice into the new group because they were facing a lot of retirements, and have hired two GPs but are finding it incredibly difficult to get the numbers required.
“They have seen a 30 per cent increase in the number of appointments requested by patients and are working 11 to 12 hour days to meet the additional demand – which is not just appointments but the medical admin that comes with them.
“GPs are what makes the NHS special. But they are leaving in large numbers because of the pressures.
“As health secretary I tried to increase GP numbers with limited success, so I have a personal desire to get to the bottom of these issues.”