What party manifestos really mean for GPs

General practice took centre stage as political parties set out their NHS plans in election manifestos, with pledges to improve access, integrate services and increase funding.

The Conservatives came under fire after guaranteeing same-day appointments for over-75s, a move the GPC said could distort clinical priorities.

Labour confirmed plans for a 48-hour GP appointment guarantee for all patients. NHS funding has become a battleground with parties responding to NHS England’s appeal for an £8bn-a-year rise above inflation by 2020. The Tories and Liberal Democrats signed up to the rise, while Labour accused the Conservatives of making unfunded promises. It pledged a £2.5bn annual rise and a review of NHS funding needs.

Former NHS England chief David Nicholson told the BBC the parties were ignoring the financial problems the NHS faced and warned planned £22bn savings were a ‘big ask’.

While the big three parties are all committed to higher general practice funding, only the Greens pledged to restore it to 11% of the NHS budget, as GP leaders demand.

Labour and UKIP promised 8,000 new GPs. Labour said the new GPs would support integration and new models of care. The coalition parties said they are committed to 5,000
additional GPs, although the Conservatives omitted the pledge from their manifesto and the Lib Dems only promised 10,000 more doctors and 7,000 more nurses in theirs.

GPs have questioned where the parties expect to find the new recruits.

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