Exclusive: Labour trails Tories in race for GP votes

Labour trails the Conservatives in the race for GP votes ahead of this year's general election, as the opposition launched its 10-year plan for the NHS.

Almost 23% of GPs intend to vote for Ed Miliband’s party in May, a GP poll of voting intentions shows, but 28.9% back the Conservatives.

Last month, 36% of GPs said they trust Labour more than the other parties on the NHS. The Conservatives scored 22%.

More than 600 GPs from across the UK responded to the latest survey in the last week of January. Labour launched its health manifesto, including plans to integrate health and social care, on 27 January.

Read more: What does Labour's NHS plan mean for GPs?

Almost 18% of GPs surveyed said they voted Labour at the last general election in 2010.

The survey suggests the Tories’ vote share could fall significantly from the 43.9% share it achieved among GPs in 2010. The Liberal Democrat party could also see its vote collapse among GPs, down
from 22% in 2010 to 8.2% today.

Outside the big three, smaller parties could be attracting increased GP support. The Greens could be the biggest winners from disillusionment with the main parties, with their vote share up from 2.1% to 8.1%. UKIP could also gain, up from 1.2% to 6.8%. The nationalist parties, SNP and Plaid Cymru, are also up.

More than 20% of GPs surveyed said they were undecided, would not vote at all, or could vote for another party on 7 May.

GPs disillusioned

Some of those who may not vote said they could not trust any party. ‘Politicians seem divorced from ordinary people and appear to have little understanding of the real world,’ said one GP. ‘I don’t trust the NHS with any of them,’ said another.

‘I am not voting for any party as they all are the same,’ added another respondent. ‘They want to provide free healthcare and they want to pay as little as possible for it.’

Comments from GPs who said they will vote Labour suggest some of the party’s support may not be very firm. One GP said, ‘not entirely convinced yet’. Another added: ‘Not very happy about any party.’ But another said: ‘Need Tories out soon.’

Comments from GPs intending to vote Conservative were more positive. One said: ‘I feel they have my best interests at heart.’ 

But one Conservative voter said: ‘Mainly related to economic policies. All of the big parties will further cock up/privatise the NHS eventually.’

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