Exclusive: Tory GP support holds up as Labour slumps

The Conservatives remain ahead in the battle for GPs' votes while Labour support has slumped with polling day just three weeks away.

GP magazine’s latest survey of more than 460 GPs put the Conservatives ahead on 28%, down 1% from a similar survey in January.

Just 13% of respondents to the latest survey said they planned to vote Labour next month, down 10% from the January results.

Despite topping the survey, Tory support among GPs is below their national polling, which puts the party neck and neck with Labour on 34%.

GP support for the party has fallen markedly since the last general election – 42% of respondents to GP’s latest survey voted Tory in 2010.

Support for the Liberal Demo-crats has also collapsed, the poll shows. The Liberal Democrats are in third place on 7%, down from 24% support they won from these GPs in 2010.

The survey suggests all three main parties losing support since 2010 and since January, while Ukip gained four percentage points and the Greens three percentage points since the last election.

Both minor parties, however, have lost ground since January.  

The largest group of GP survey respondents were the undecided – a third of GPs have yet to make their mind up which party to vote for on 7 May.

GPs were questioned on their voting intentions between 10 and 15 April, a period covering the launch of all the main parties’ election manifestos.

One GP commented: ‘All are making wild and unbelievable promises regards the NHS. The problem is if they come out with such rubbish for things I know to be unrealistic, how can I believe anything they say on subjects for which I have little knowledge?’


Another added: ‘I feel betrayed and let down by the Conservative government because a top-down hierarchy was established that undermines the real needs of patients and GPs.’

The survey came as health policy became the number one priority for voters and all the main parties put the future of the NHS at the heart of their manifestos, with a range of pledges on general practice and health funding.

Respondents were asked about their support for a range of NHS policies floated by parties in the run-up to the election.

Almost three quarters of GPs said that all parties should commit to fund the £8bn NHS spending rise health service leaders have said is required on top of £22bn efficiencies by 2020 to help plug a projected £30bn blackhole. 

The Lib Dems and Tories have committed to the funding rise. Labour has promised £2.5bn and would examine NHS funding in a spending review.

Over 60% of GPs supported more investment in care closer to home, 56% support Labour’s policy to make NHS organisations preferred providers for health service contracts, while 54% support Ukip’s proposal to abolish the CQC.

Over a third support Labour’s pledge to move healthcare into integrated care organisations. Meanwhile just 10% supported Tory plans for evening and weekend appoint-ments for all patients, and 15% supported Labour plans for GP appointments guaranteed within 48 hours.

Editorial: Beware of unfunded NHS policies

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