November 9, 2019

Conservatives announce 50 million more GP appointments

The Conservative Party has always been the party of the NHS. We’ve protected the NHS for 44 of the last 71 years of its existence, and we’re giving the NHS a £33.9 billion funding boost. We support our NHS to give people the care they need now and making sure it’s there for our children and grandchildren.

Today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that there will be 50 million more appointments in GP surgeries will be created every year under a Conservative majority Government. That will enable more people to access care and reducing the time that patients are left waiting.

How we’re creating 50 million more appointments in GP surgeries

Our GPs are working incredibly hard. But, with an ageing population, demand for appointments has increased.

As such, we have announced a package to increase the number of NHS staff, improve international recruitment and retention of domestic staff, and train an extra 500 GPs a year from 2021-22.

These additional appointments, by 2024-25, will be made possible by the delivery of 6,000 more GPs and 6,000 more nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists. 

This follows the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday that a Conservative majority Government will create an NHS visa to ensure it is easy for those who want to come from abroad to work in our health service to do so.

The Government will also support practices to reduce waiting times through modernising systems and adopting best practice, and ensure reforms to address doctors’ pensions, which cause many GPs, senior hospital doctors and senior nurses to turn down extra shifts for fear of unexpected high tax bills.

Commenting on the announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

I love our NHS and am incredibly proud of the world-class care it offers patients.

We all know that prevention is better than cure - and our GPs are at their heart the best way of helping us all stay out of hospital. I know that it is too often difficult to book an appointment with a GP. We all know the feeling of ringing a GP surgery first thing in the morning, holding on to get an appointment.

We will put record funding into our GP surgeries, and to help everyone get the care they need, we will create 50 million extra appointments in GP surgeries each year, with the sort of easy online booking that we expect in other areas of our lives.

Only a majority Conservative government will get Brexit done and focus on improving our NHS. A vote for anyone else will result in in a gridlocked hung Parliament, with a weak and chaotic coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn who will waste next year on the chaos of another two referendums.

How else the Conservatives are supporting our NHS

As part of this change, and to help create more GP appointments, we will make sure patients can benefit from digital booking and consultations offered by phone, Skype or online if they want them.

We will ensure patients can speak to the right person at the right time. In addition, changes will enable remote working for GPs, enabling GPs to work in more modern and flexible ways, which should increase patients’ access to out of hours online, Skype and phone appointments.

We’re also supporting practices to reduce waiting times through modernising systems, working with the NHS to tackle the underlying causes of pressure from increases in chronic diseases. And we’re offering more help for those with diabetes, obesity, mental health, cancer and heart disease.

What our NHS announcement means for you

Currently, there are 307 million appointments per year in GP surgeries. This announcement represents over a 15% uplift in appointment numbers.

That’s an increase of almost an extra appointment per person in England per year. Our NHS policy will transform our health service for millions of patients and hard-working staff.

Our record on the NHS so far 

We are investing an additional £4.5 billion in primary and community health services as part of our £33.9 billion long-term plan for the NHS, the biggest increase in a generation. And this is the first time in the history of the NHS that real terms funding for primary and community health services is guaranteed to grow faster than the rising NHS budget overall.

We are already recruiting 20,000 physios, therapists and other health experts to offer patient more access to specialist care in GP teams, building on success in the last year alone which has seen GPs across the country free up an extra half a million hours of time for patients. And that’s before including the extra 6,000 announced today.

There are a record number of GPs in training. 3,538 trainees have accepted, beating the annual target of 3,250 for the second year in succession.

We’re giving the NHS £33.9 billion more to make sure it can provide the best possible care, and we’re upgrading 20 hospitals and building 40 new ones. 78 hospital trusts will also receive state-of-the-art MRI, CT and mammography screening machines, so cancer can be selected more quickly to boost survival rates.

And we are offering online ‘digital’ GP consultations as an option to patient over the next five years. This will reduce waiting times and ensure patients can speak to a GP when it works for them.

The Conservatives are the Party of the NHS: and our actions prove it.

The Labour Party can’t support the NHS

Labour’s Brexit chaos means they have nothing to offer. Their inability to deal with Brexit means they would be unable to deliver meaningful policies to actually support our cherished health service.

We want to get Brexit done so we can deliver on our NHS. This policy announcement by Matt Hancock today is just one of the ways we’re going to do it. The Labour Party can’t support the NHS – only the Conservatives can support our health services and unleash Britain’s potential.