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CAMHS won't see you now

Labour pledges £100m to reintroduce 48-hour target to see GP

Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to end the ‘scandal’ of patients waiting more than a week for a GP appointment and reintroduce a right for patients to see a GP within 48 hours.

Mr Miliband announced that a Labour government would reintroduce the target scrapped in June 2010 for patients to have a guaranteed appointment at their GP surgery within 48 hours.

He also said that patients would gain a right to be seen by a GP on the same day if they need to be seen quickly and be able to book appointments more than 48 hours ahead ‘with the GP of their choice’.

The Labour leader pledged to invest an extra £100m a year in GP practices to pay for an additional 3m GP appointments every year.

He said this additional funding will come from repealing the requirements to use competition in the NHS and cutting back on what he called ‘quangos’, such as Monitor, the Trust Development Authority and Commissioning Support Units.

He said: ‘I can announce the next Labour government will put in place a new set of standards: a same-day consultation with your GP surgery with a guarantee of a GP appointment if you need it that day, a GP appointment guaranteed for all within 48 hours, and the right to book further ahead with the GP of your choice if your priority is to plan ahead or to see your preferred doctor.

‘This will be better for patients, because they have better access to their GP surgery; better for the NHS, because it will save money currently spent in A&E; and better for Britain, because it is the kind of health service we need.’

He added: ‘A quarter of the public now say they can’t get an appointment in the same week. It’s a scandal that people are waiting that long, it is not how our NHS, the pride of Britain, should work.’

He also promised to make the NHS a more integrated service. He said: ‘Our plan for the long-term of the NHS starts by making sure that physical health, mental health and social care – services which have stood apart for too long - work together. Just think of the difference it could make. If a simple grab rail is placed in someone’s hall at home, that can stop a fall that could lead to that person breaking a bone, keeping them out of hospital, saving them the pain and the suffering, and saving the NHS thousands of pounds.’

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said that she welcomed the announcement of more funding for general practice.

But she added: ‘While we welcome Mr Miliband’s announcement it must not be another “sticking plaster” solution but part of a broader, long-term, shift in investment. Ultimately, general practice needs 11% of the NHS budget by 2017 in order to cut waiting times and guarantee safe care for our patients.

‘We particularly welcome Mr Milliband’s pledge to scrap the marketization of the NHS, something our members, across the country, have long said is unworkable and undermining their ability to provide joined-up patient care.

‘The college looks forward to working with politicians from all political parties to discuss how general practice can be funded to provide better and speedier access for patients, in order to take pressure off our hospitals and allow patients to be treated in their communities.’

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the targets were ‘misguided’ and ignored the real crisis going on in general practice.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘I would very much want to have a discussion with the shadow health secretary Andy Burnham in particular, as I think these suggestions are misguided and are failing to address the fundamental problem which is the crisis in general practice.

‘Issues around 48-hour targets and so on are just an irrelevance. The worst thing you can do when you’ve got a system under pressure, where demand outstrips capacity, is to create such targets that are likely to result in counterproductive, perverse behaviour - this is the last thing we need.’

He added: ‘What is really important is to address the fundamental lack of investment - £100 million is 0.1% of the NHS budget, it’s a tiny sum in the totality of what general practice is expected to deliver.

‘We need to look at the workforce, manage demand and ensure GPs can deliver the most appropriate care within the constraints they have – not stoke up demand that is not achieveable, leads to perverse behaviours and often ends up denying care to those that most need it.’

Meanwhile, commenting on Labour’s plans to overhaul the NHS competition regime, NHS Clinical Commissioners co-chair Dr Steve Kell said: ‘Labour raise[s] some interesting points about competition and we know from our members the unnecessary burden and cost that it can place on the system if it is not used or understood properly.’

‘Clinical commissioners are faced with the decision to tender local services every day, and have found there are a number of practical difficulties with the current system when trying to secure the best outcome for patients. It is sometimes unclear to commissioners whether they are simply free to commission from a market, or whether they have to commission in order to make a market operate.’

Related images

  • Ed Miliband - online

Readers' comments (86)

  • Bob Hodges




    What about holidays?
    What about part timers?

    Looks like I'll be handing back the keys in May 2015 whoever wins.

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  • It would literally be "see" not "see and have a useful consultation" as there won't be time. Who has priority - those with clinical need or those who demand their "right" to see GP "of their choice" within 48 hours whether clinically necessary or not? Are we not allowed holiday/sickness any more? We can't run limitless demand general practice like that and there aren't enough GPs or funds to provide the service that the politicians keep promising "they" will deliver. As if.
    Please, will politicians just given us adequate funding then leave us alone to do the job to the best of our professional ability?

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  • National Hopeless Service

    Another political arse giving me the reason to support Una Coles resignation letter campaign.

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  • The "scandal" is the way successive governments have run down general practice so that it is now understaffed, underfunded, overworked and still taking the blame for everything

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  • Do we have ANY politicians in this country who ARENT clueless idiots??

    It's definite then - regardless of whatever government is coming next - you'd be a certifiable LUNATIC to consider continuing working in this sad deluded country as a GP.

    What is the point?

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Commissioner Gordon get on the Batphone - the Joker is on the loose .

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  • Just when you think one load of politicians cannot get any more stupid.

    I'll actually have to look at UKIP purely as the others have excluded themselves on grounds of incompetence ( I'm not expecting anything from UKIP just reading what their policy on health is).

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  • Why is everyone posting as anonymous? Is their opinion to embarrassing to put a name to?

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  • And if we can't supply a 48 hr appointment - what dreadful nemesis awaits us ? A cut in funding ? We have that anyway . Fire me I would welcome it .

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  • In a short career thus far it's interesting to see this argument of access versus continuity recur over and over. It seems that there are no magic ingredients for a perfect appointment system and I am sure most practices spend a significant amount of time discussing such issues. Rather than imposing financial incentives or targets and sensationalising political statements, we should share information on what works and what doesn't. Using threads such as this could provide immense amount of knowledge and innovation. Irrespective of what politicians suggest should happen we still have some autonomy within our practices and can influence how our patients access our own services.

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  • Dr Coker - on why people post anonymously - this is an open web site and comments are accessible to everyone. GPs are judged continually on a daily basis by anyone and everyone including a fairly rabid media who wouldn't think twice about trashing the reputation of an individual GP if it suited them. Patients rate their Dr as a matter of cause...and if you step out of line it's all too easy for anyone to make a malicious complaint if they don't like you're tone. On top of that, on a personal note, as a locum your completely reliant on the good will of a whole range of people many of whom may well see the world rather differently. It very easy to google a name and any comment you've ever made will be there for anyone to use any time they want - I'm afraid anonymity is a necessity for many ...but a sad reflection on what being a doctor has become and yet another reason in my opinion to get out

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  • What works is to work hard,
    and sorry labour introduced a survey which cut gp funding , even politician do not loose pay according to a rubbish survey.
    The money works out about 1-2 pounds a pt, which is basically going to be eaten away by inflation anyway. Good luck with that.

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  • Nothing works unless you have spare capacity. You need more GPs or less demand.

    With too few GPs you need to be able to prioritise patients on the basis of need. To do this successfully you need to be backed up by the Government. I cannot see that happening, and the GMC and the courts do not take into account how overworked you are.

    The only way to protect yourself financially and medicolegally is to leave.

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  • Una Coales

    @7:22 Re UKIP, I have been instructed by a Scottish medic UKIP health advisor to say 'Anyone with any sympathies to the Labour party should be in no doubt these guys want to debase primary care and drive you to an early grave.'

    Sounds like we need more medics to infiltrate all the political parties to educate them that NHS GPs are NOT going to provide 60 million people unlimited 48 hour access appointments for £3/consultation even if they had the manpower which they don't.

    If you are a young GP, please bear in mind that the door to Australia may close in 1-2 years as Australia is filling up with former NHS GPs! You'll need letters of good standing from the RCGP and GMC.

    Else you may be stuck working as an underpaid overworked salaried GP for a private bulk provider.

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  • GP salary 75k add on employers pension costs and cost of employment and holidays
    The final cost is around 100k
    100million will fund 1000 GPs
    That's one gp per sixty thousands patients.
    That's not enough just ever increasing demand
    And wanting GPs to take more out of hospitals ect ect
    Will absorb this.
    Time for Strong proposals from our leaders
    And strong support from grass roots.
    48 hours is the usual pre election bribe ..
    We have to make sure it is payed for in full!!
    If not ... Tine for a new model of practice

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  • Ed you muppet - you've gone and alientated all us GPs as well now!.. well done

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  • Anonymous for anonymous sake!
    Not only am I fed up with being made to feel undervalued, but as pointed out by 7.54pm, continuing to give patients their God-given right to complain to get what they want, means they essentially blackmail trained and experienced professionals! Not what I trained for, nor expect in terms of behaviour?
    It's scary reading £3 per consultation ie £18 per hour! And not even taking into account all the other work that has to be done between clinics, after hours.
    Coordinated mass resignation with a clear PR campaign is the only solution.

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  • Vinci Ho

    No single party (no exception)will leave us alone. It is so sad general practice in this country has become the favourite theme park for all these politicians who know nothing other than how to earn more votes........

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