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Babergh and Mid Suffolk among worst in UK for average distance to GP services

Two areas of Suffolk have among the worst access to GPs in England, new data has revealed.

According to a list compiled by Guardian Carers and based on Office of National Statistics (ONS) data, both Babergh and Mid Suffolk have some of the longest distances to GP surgeries in the entire country – with four districts in the East of England making the list.

According to the data, the average distance, in a straight line, between a home and a GP was 3.7 miles in Mid Suffolk and 3.24 miles in Babergh, in 2021.

Stock photo of stethoscope, GP surgery Picture: iStock
Stock photo of stethoscope, GP surgery Picture: iStock

West Devon topped the list with an average distance of just shy of four miles, while Selby in North Yorkshire came in second with 3.85 miles.

South Norfolk and Uttlesford, in Essex, also made the top 10.

A spokesman for Guardian Carers said: “Many of these rural areas distance to a GP is inflated with the lack of infrastructure compared to more built-up areas.

“This is especially true if these same areas have limited to no public transport, and in addition, the fluctuating price of fuel in recent years.

“A small check-up can be the difference between a quick and instant treatment to a longer-term health concern and the distance needed to travel to a GP may play an important part in whether people make an appointment however as the winter draws in, spikes in colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses are common and it is expected that the pressure on GP services may increase; distance may not be the only factor affecting a person’s visit to their doctor.”

Areas of Mid Suffolk include Claydon, near Ipswich, which has been embroiled in debate on a local level after its temporary GP in Kirby Rise – and the only one in the village – shut its doors.

Proposals were submitted to turn the site into homes.