Health workers back parties' GP manifesto plans

NHS workers support plans by the main political parties to improve access to general practice, according to a new poll that puts Labour ahead of the Conservatives among health staff.

Health centre: NHS workers back plans for GP access
Health centre: NHS workers back plans for GP access

The survey of more than 2,000 health staff, including GPs, carried out by Dods Research, suggested Labour was most trusted on the NHS.

Respondents showed high levels of support for proposals from both Labour and the Conservatives to improve access to GP appointments.

A total of 80% said Labour plans to introduce a guaranteed appointment within 48 hours were 'desirable' or 'very desirable', while 49% supported a Tory pledge to give every patient the right to a named GP, and 60% are in favour of Ukip’s plans for a GP in every A&E.

Election pledge doubts

Health workers, however, were sceptical about the ability of the parties to implement their plans. Labour’s 48 pledge received a 41% net difficulty score in the poll, as did the Tories’ named GP promise. Ukip’s A&E plans scored 31%.

Of health workers questioned, 76% said Labour and Tory plans to recruit more GPs and nurses would help ease pressure in their part of the service.

GP leaders have criticised all parties for their failure to explain how they intend to recruit more GPs.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said last week the parties’ had ducked the question of how they will recruit the thousands of new GPs they have promised and slammed ‘regressive’ access policies. The GPC chairman said this was the opposite of what was needed to solve the workforce crisis.

Asked which party’s plans would most benefit or least inconvenience their work, health workers polled put Labour top on 29%, with the Tories on 18% and Liberal Democrats on 6%.

Half of respondents said the Health and Social Care Act reforms had negatively affected their work, while 54% thought the outcome of tomorrow’s election will have a major or moderate effect on their job.

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