All NHS patients will be able to get a GP appointment within 48 hours under a Labour government, party leader Ed Miliband has claimed.
Miliband promised that everyone would be able to get a same-day consultation at their surgery, or see a GP within 48 hours if there’s an urgent situation.
This would be paid for through “getting rid of much of the spending on bureaucracy and competition which is increasingly happening in the National Health Service” saving £100 million, Miliband (pictured) said.
However, the Conservatives have called the plan “unfunded” and “pie-in-the-sky”.
A spokesman said: “The real solution is less micromanagement and more GPs, something we’ve already committed to.
“Far from improving access, another top-down target will leave GPs less time with their patients and put more pressure on general practice.”
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said the announcement was “extremely welcome”.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said: “While we welcome Mr Miliband’s announcement it must not be another ‘sticking plaster’ solution but part of a broader, long-term, shift in investment. Ultimately, general practice needs 11% of the NHS budget by 2017 in order to cut waiting times and guarantee safe care for our patients.”
“The College looks forward to working with politicians from all political parties to discuss how general practice can be funded to provide better and speedier access for patients, in order to take pressure off our hospitals and allow patients to be treated in their communities.”
NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster said: “Labour is right to focus on the role primary care can play in an improved health service. GPs have a key role to play in that but tinkering with one part of the system in isolation is not a solution.
“With unprecedented pressure on the NHS and no ‘magic porridge pot’ of funding available, it is vital that any proposals to widen care or access are grounded in evidence that they improve patient outcomes and experience at least as well as alternative proposals. Labour’s proposals are no exception.”