Thousands of people are waiting 28 days or longer to see a GP in North East Hertfordshire.

Labour party analysis of newly-released data from the NHS reveals that 2,789 people in North East Herts had to wait 28 days or longer for a GP appointment in January this year, with a further 5,594 people having to wait two weeks or longer.

Across England, one and a quarter million people had to wait 28 days or longer in January, with a further three million waiting two weeks or longer.

In 2015, then health secretary and current chancellor Jeremy Hunt promised to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020. However, there are currently 2,000 fewer GPs than in 2015.

North East Hertfordshire Labour’s Cllr Alistair Willoughby said: “Our NHS is on its knees thanks to 13 years of Tory neglect. Far too many patients in North East Hertfordshire can’t see a GP when they need to.

"The sad truth is that means conditions going undiagnosed until it is too late. I'm sure that we've all got personal stories of someone we know, or even ourselves, being affected by this.

READ MORE: Lister Hospital A&E sees many waiting over 12 hours

“We can all see that the NHS is desperately short of staff. That’s why Labour has set out a plan to double medical school places – a plan the NHS itself is backing.

“Patients should be able to see the doctor they want, in the manner they choose, when they need to.

"Under the Conservatives that’s just not happening – but the next Labour government will change that, we will put patients first and get them seen on time again.”

Labour has said it would pay for its medical school plans by abolishing non-dom tax status.

Responding to this story, Sir Oliver Heald, Conservative MP for North East Hertfordshire, said: "There are delays and we do need more doctors. That is why the government has taken action and there are 5,100 more doctors than a year ago.

"Five new medical schools are being created and the numbers being trained has increased from 7,000 to 9,500.

"Whilst I do not recognise the Labour Party figures and they probably include regular checks booked ahead, there is no room for complacency.

"I keep in touch with many practices locally and know that these problems relate in part to the huge backlog of work caused by the pandemic, increased caseloads and continuing staff sickness absences.

"Labour's Ed Balls was reported this week in the Times (April 26, Quentin Letts column) to have described the way our system has come through four recent 'once in a century threats' as a 'triumph'.

"However, that does not mean that we are back to normal. The government is determined to cut the waiting lists and we expect to be judged on that."