Guaranteed to back plans for more GP appointments

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Labour’s announcement of a GP guarantee to make it easier to see a Doctor within 48 hours has been backed by Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South.

Labour would invest an extra £100 million in improving GP services to make easier to see a Doctor if it wins the election next year helping to ease the pressure on hospitals and improving community care.

The proportion of patients getting a GP appointment in 48 hours has fallen from 80 per cent under the last Labour government to just 40 per cent now, with some people waiting more than a week to see a doctor.

Labour’s GP guarantee will help restore the right of patients to:

Consult a doctor or a nurse at their local GP surgery on the same day.

Get an appointment at their surgery on the same day if they need to be seen quickly.

Have a guaranteed appointment at their GP surgery within 48 hours.

The guarantee will be funded by investing an extra £100 million a year in family doctor practices which could pay for an additional 3 million GP appointments every year.

Milton Keynes Hospital is already at capacity with the A&E unit regularly seeing record numbers of patients, many of them who could be seen by a local doctor. The extra funding will improve care for patients, ease the pressure across the NHS, and could save the hospital money by reducing the number of patients going to A&E departments and avoidable hospital admissions.

The announcement has been welcomed by the Royal College of General Practitioners. Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the RCGP, said: “There is a growing crisis in waiting times to see a GP across the country, and it is clear that this will become a key issue at the next election.

“GPs want to provide better access for their patients, but are being prevented from cutting waiting times because of the funding black hole in general practice.

“Ed Miliband’s announcement that more money should be channelled into general practice is therefore extremely welcome.”

Andrew Pakes, Labour & Co-operative Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “Being able to get a speedy appointment to see a Doctor has to be one of the basic requirements of the National Health Service.

“It is clear that Milton Keynes Hospital is being hit by a growing population, more patients turning to A&E and the government’s costly NHS shake-up.

“As a growing city we need much greater focus on integrating health care and improving GP and community health services, something I know the current MK-Bedford review is looking at.

“This is a welcome announcement that Labour will refocus NHS investment on improving GP services.”

Councillor Pakes says the GP Guarantee will be funded by scrapping the Government’s rules which have led to spending of at least £78 million on unnecessary administration and legal fees because NHS services are now under threat from EU competition law.

Cutting back the new bureaucracy created by this Government which has seen the costs of three sets of quangos – Monitor, the Trust Development Authority and Commissioning Support Units – spiral with their current spending just on consultants now totalling over £3 million a month.