Exclusive: Half of GPs to vote Conservative

GP support for Labour has fallen by two-thirds since it won power in 1997, according to an exclusive GP survey.

David Cameron (photograph: Sunlight Development Trust)
David Cameron (photograph: Sunlight Development Trust)

1,395 GPs took part in the survey which found that:

  • 15% of GPs would vote Labour today compared with 44% who did in 1997
  • 50% of GPs would vote Conservative today compared with 24% who did in 1997
  • 19% of GPs would vote Lib Dem today compared with 17% who did in 1997.

Other findings were:

  • 54% of GPs rate Labour’s performance on NHS since 1997 as poor or very poor
  • 76% of GPs said profits had fallen at their practice in the last year
  • 56% said partners had been forced to cut the share of profits they take as pay
  • 24% of practices had been forced to cut staff, of these: 19% said partners had been cut, 34% said salaried GPs had been cut and 67% said administrative staff had been cut.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: ‘It would seem that half the GPs who responded to this GP survey have short memories. In 1997 Labour inherited an NHS on its knees. Primary care was equally starved of resources. This government has invested historic sums in health provision. Only last month in the pre-budget report we announced an extra £100 million to upgrade GP practices.

‘As in 1997 the contrast with the Conservatives today is a stark one. David Cameron has explicitly refused to match Labour's health spending plans. That can only mean primary care, along with the rest of the NHS will suffer when the Tory spending cuts begin to bite.’

Shadow Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘This is a real vote of confidence in the Conservative party’s policies for the NHS, from the people who have the greatest day to day responsibility for caring for patients.  GPs know that we understand that they have an essential role, not only in providing care for patients, but also managing their entire treatment from the NHS.

‘In contrast Labour have seemed obsessed with undermining GPs at every turn. Their plans for polyclinics will put many family doctors out of business; their top-down targets have burdened GPs with bureaucracy; and their changes to medical training mean many junior doctors can’t find jobs.

‘Rather than fighting against GPs, the Conservatives will work together with them to deliver an NHS fit for the 21st century, centred around the needs of patients.’

Liberal Democrat shadow health secretary Norman Lamb said: ‘This demonstrates in stark terms the extent to which Labour has lost the confidence of doctors working in the NHS.

‘Its obsession with imposing change from above and ignoring the guidance and advice from the experts on the coalface has driven doctors and other health professionals crazy over the last 12 years.’


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