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A new right to see your GP within 7 days

November 7, 2022 5:14 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Far too many people are struggling to get a GP appointment when they need one, leaving them waiting anxiously for the care they deserve.

In September alone, 8.9 million GP appointments involved a wait of more than a week, with 5 million waiting longer than the Government's own target of two weeks.

People across the country are suffering from years of neglect under the Conservatives

This has terrible consequences for people's health, and for our NHS. It can lead to important diagnoses being missed or delayed, and can force desperate people to call an ambulance or take themselves into A&E.

The blame for this crisis is clear, and it isn't the country's overstretched GPs. It's the Conservative Government. Back in 2019, the Conservatives promised to deliver 6,000 more doctors, but the number of qualified GPs has actually fallen by 500.

People across the country are suffering from years of neglect under the Conservatives, who have repeatedly broken their promises on local health services. It's just not good enough.

we can make sure everyone gets the care they need, when they need it.

That's why the Liberal Democrats are calling for patients to have a new right: to see a GP within 7 days, or within 24 hours if they urgently need to.

Of course, delivering on that right can't mean copying the Conservatives' failed approach, of just setting the targets, cutting GP numbers, and then blaming GPs when the targets are missed.

That's why we have set out a clear plan for how the Government should step up and recruit 8,000 more GPs and free up more of their time, including by:

  • Increasing training places for GPs and medical school places across the country.
  • Fixing the broken NHS pension rules to help experienced GPs stay in the profession.
  • Giving more prescribing rights and public health advisory services to qualified pharmacists, nurse practitioners and appropriately trained paramedics.
  • Introducing a 24/7 phone line to manage the booking of appointments more efficiently.
  • Empowering GPs to spend more of their budgets as they see fit by removing top-down bureaucracy.

By giving doctors the time and the tools they need to do their jobs, we can make sure everyone gets the care they need, when they need it.