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Burnham: Bring back 48-hour GP appointment target

Labour wants to bring back in a target guaranteeing patients get to see a GP within 48 hours of requesting an appointment, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said.

Speaking at a meeting on the A&E crisis in Parliament yesterday, Mr Burnham indicated the 48-hour pledge introduced by his party but scrapped by the Coalition Government should be re-introduced as part of measures to ease pressure on A&E departments.

Mr Burnham said the target could be put before the Commons for a vote at an opposition day debate on A&E next Wednesday.

The target was scrapped in June 2010, along with a raft of other NHS targets removed soon after the Coalition came into government.

A spokesperson for Mr Burnham told Pulse the target was ‘under consideration’ for next week’s Commons debate.

The spokesperson said: ‘We are hearing many stories of people trying to get a GP appointment and they’re simply not able to – or if they do get through they are not able to get an appointment soon enough and that’s resulting in them going to the nearest available place which is the A&E.’

‘So it’s a matter of people not being able to get in-hours appointments not just out-of-hours.’

He added: ‘The target is certainly something we want to look at – but we need to look at all the details surrounding it before we make an announcement.’