Not one GP has applied for a doctor's vacancy at a Northampton surgery in three years, a practice leader has revealed, after the health secretary agreed to hold crisis talks over its waiting times.
Last week Jeremy Hunt made an agreement to discuss the problems at St Luke's Primary Care Centre in Duston, after the waiting time to see a doctor there became the subject of a House of Commons debate.
But in response, senior partner at St Luke's, Dr Sinead Rogers, has welcomed the chance to challenge the health chief's clam of recruiting 5,000 GPs by 2020.
She said: "Mr Hunt has pledged a further 5,000 GPs by 2020 but since making this pledge, the number of GPs in England has actually decreased.
"We have been advertising for new GPs for three years without a single applicant.
"In the absence of doctors, we are looking at alternative ways of working to serve our local population."
Dr Rogers went on to say: "We care deeply about our patients and, with the support of good practice manager and working together as a team, we regularly change our system to improve the service we give.
The latest poll by GP magazine Pulse in 2016, found the average waiting time at GP surgeries to be around 13 days - three more than in 2015.
Four in ten GPs even said patients were waiting more than two weeks.
Chron readers, who have been getting in touch to tell their stories of waiting for an appointment at St Luke's, tell a similar story.
Trish Baker said: "This is a terrible surgery to get an appointment at; HOWEVER...once you have an appointment - either with a nurse or one of the regular doctors - I find they are actually very good."
Tracy Grunwell, said: "I just think it needs looking at, took me 40 mins to get through and I had rang the NHS line first as not to hassle surgery but they said my little one needs to be seen."