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Tories promise same-day GP appointments for over-75s

Patients over 75 will be guaranteed a same-day appointment with a GP if the Conservative Party wins the general election, it was announced over the weekend.

In an interview with the Telegraph on Saturday, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the party will enable same-day access by introducing 5,000 new GPs by 2020.

A follow-up article published on the Conservative Party’s website over the weekend by chancellor George Osborne said this would be made possible via a commitment to a minimum real-terms increase in NHS funding of £8bn in the next five years.

Mr Osborne said this would fund the NHS reforms suggested in NHS England’s five-year plan, which includes new models for providing general practice.

However, the BMA said that this ‘simplistic’ age limit would risk ‘distorting clinical priorities’, while the Labour Party said that these pledges were unfunded.

In the article in the Telegraph, Mr Hunt said the UK must ‘face up’ to the ‘demographic timebomb’.

He added: ‘We will introduce during the course of the next Parliament same-day GP appointments for all over-75s. We need in the NHS is to be better at looking after people while they are at home so that they don’t need expensive hospital care in A&E departments.

‘We want to give everyone the confidence that they can get in to see a GP quickly. We can do that because of the extra investment.’

Mr Osborne said that the Conservatives backed NHS England’s plans.

But, he added: ‘There’s no point having a plan without the funding to deliver it, so today we commit to deliver what the NHS needs. The Five Year Forward View sets out a projected gap between costs and resources of up to £30bn by the year 2020-21. As the plan says, the majority of this gap, £22bn, can be made up through efficiency and reform, as well as improvements in public health and prevention that will keep people healthier for longer.

‘The NHS will do its part, and we will do ours. So I can confirm that in the Conservative manifesto next week we will commit to a minimum real-terms increase in NHS funding of £8bn in the next five years.

However, the GPC criticised plans for same-day access for the over 75s.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the GPC, said: ‘Putting in place a simplistic age limit for services runs the risk of distorting clinical priorities. It cannot be right for a 76 year old with a minor ailment to get preferential care at the expense of a 70 year old with a more serious condition.

‘There is also a question mark over whether GPs have the ability to deliver same day appointments when many GP practices are under intense  pressure from rising workload and falling resources, and without the capacity to meet current demands.’

Responding to Mr Osborne’s statement, Chris Leslie, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘George Osborne’s extreme plan to double the pace of spending cuts next year means he cannot credibly claim to protect the NHS. Other countries which have tried to make cuts on this scale have ended up cutting their health services. That’s why he wasn’t able to announce any extra NHS funding in his Budget last month

‘And the Tories have £10 billion of unfunded tax promises which they also can’t say how they will pay for and are ahead of the NHS in the queue.’

The NHS Five Year Forward View, published in October, set out a number of efficiency savings scenarios based on its plans for reforming services, especially primary, urgent and elderly care, by 2020. It said that if nothing was done the funding gap would be £30bn while a 2-3% efficiency saving per year would mean there was still £8bn annually missing from the budget.

But many have argued this is a very aggressive savings target, as since 2004-05 savings have been estimated at 1.5% per year and hospitals, the urgent care system and GP practices are already squeezed financially with no real terms pay increases for several years.

Mr Osborne announced a £2bn ‘down payment’ on the Five Year Forward View reforms in the Autumn Statement, while last week health secrerary Jeremy Hunt said the Tories would pay ‘whatever’ is needed for the NHS.

Related images

  • Jeremy Hunt - online

Readers' comments (45)

  • Fantasy football - fantasy NHS - fantasy tories getting re-elected .

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  • This is playing politics with the health service. And as such it is grossly irresponsible. If they really want such an expansion in GP numbers why have they been undermining Primary Care for the last five years?

    This really makes me sick.

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  • Impossible.Who will lose out for this pipe dream.How quickly will it accelerate the burnout of the workforce.Idiots

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  • Should 1. Clinicians prioritise patients of 2. Politicians?

    Are over 75s 1. More likely to vote Tory or 2. Less likely robot Tory than under 75s?

    Are the above statements linked?

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  • Is he going to see my above 75s on the same day himself?. Surely, I can't promise that level of care with the degree of underfunding - £91/patient as compare to England £136/patient.
    Bring in equality in the health system first and then return to basic maths before indulging in unintelligible gibberish.

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  • Free paper clips and shoe polish if you vote Conservatives

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  • Thats good because it means I can now refuse to see the under 75s on the day.

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  • This is just another Tory nail in the coffin of General Practice in order to privatise. He denies this but the truth of the matter is coming out!

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  • Why would all over 75s need sameday appointments. Politicians never live in the real world, instead impose crazy changes an already drained and over worked workforce. Get real! You should try increasing GP practices funding which is only currently 9% of the NHS budget instead of increasing and lining hospital trust pockets setting up 24 hour walk-ins which encourages footfall and is presentations which GP practices should be dealing with. GP are expected to federate and work together so why are some hospital expanding when GP practices budgets continue to decease. You expect to increase by 5000 GPs by 2020 good luck with that one as more and more GPs become over worked and frustrated they will retire, resign and probably work as a locum due to the changes imposed by this government

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  • Yet again another Tory government who have no idea how the NHS operates on shop floor level as they continue to destroy the NHS. Then feedback on how everything is working so wonderfully well ! Pre-election point scoring as usual...........absolutely clueless!

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