Labour would recruit 8,000 more GPs by 2020 nationally to ensure better access and help surgeries offer more convenient open times. Based on current distribution of GPs in England, Labour’s plans would mean an increase of 1,400 GPs in the South East.
Labour’s plan to improve GP access is laid out in a document released today that unveils the declining GP services since 2010.
Sarah Owen, Labour’s candidate for Hastings and Rye said: “One in five GP positions in our local area are vacant, so it’s no wonder people are struggling to get an appointment. I’ve had mothers come to me desperate and angry because they have struggled to get an appointment for their sick child here in Hastings. Today’s announcement that will mean 1,400 more GPs across the region will be welcome news to the many people including those in my community.”
Meanwhile, nearly two million more patients are unhappy with GP opening hours compared to three years ago as they lose access to evening and weekend appointments, according to new analysis of government statistics that flies in the face of repeated promises by David Cameron to support practices opening for seven days.
Labour today unveils its new poster on the NHS depicting a patient queue at a GP surgery and releases a full document on the declining GP services since 2010.
David Cameron first promised seven-day opening for GP surgeries in the Conservative manifesto before the last general election in May 2010, but once in Government promptly cut back Labour’s scheme for evening and weekend GP opening.
He repeated the pledge on last week’s ITV debate, claiming he wanted GPs to open "all the way through the week."
However, Government figures show 590 fewer GP practices now able to offer patients appointments on weekday evenings, Saturdays or Sundays, compared with 2010.
Labour’s extended hours scheme enabled GP evening and weekend opening at 77 per cent of surgeries by July 2009. Yet, David Cameron cut the scheme’s funding from £3.01 to £1.90 for every registered patient and removed the 48-hour appointment guarantee from the NHS Constitution – labelling it "no longer a priority".
The figures form part of a wider briefing on the Government’s primary care record, The Doctor can't see you now, covering appointment delays, a growing GP recruitment crisis and Labour’s commitment to hundreds more GPs in every English region.