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GPs have been ‘underfunded and neglected’ by Conservatives, says Lib Dem manifesto

GPs have been particularly hard hit by ‘underfunding and neglect from the Conservatives’ according to the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto, which pledges to support GPs so the NHS can ‘survive and thrive’.

But the manifesto provides little detail on what proportion of NHS funding will go to support GPs, should the party win the election on 8 June.

It does include a commitment to ‘expand evening and weekend opening’ but only in line with local needs, after party health spokesperson Norman Lamb told Pulse he doesn’t support the current model.

The NHS commitments will be funded with a 1p tax increase across ‘the basic, higher and additional rates of income tax’ to raise £6bn of additional revenue each year.

This would be ring-fenced and could only be spent on ‘NHS and social care services’ – with public health remaining a responsibility of local government.

However, the manifesto identifies a £2bn ‘black hole’ in social care funding at present and GP leaders have said the NHS needs at least £10bn more a year.

Other commitments in the Lib Dem manifesto include:

  • End public sector pay freeze for NHS workers
  • A national workforce strategy, so the NHS is never again short of GPs or other key health professionals
  • A national support scheme to prvent ‘mass GP closures’
  • Support for GPs to form federations or networks to collectively deliver appointments ‘out-of-normal-opening-hours’
  • ‘Incentive payments to clinicians’ to work in disadvantaged areas
  • Support GPs to come together to collectively provide services such as out-of-normal-opening-hours appointments
  • Guarantee the rights of EU staff working in the NHS and social care

The manifesto said: ‘GPs in particular have been put under considerable strain due to severe underfunding and neglect from the Conservatives, leaving many people waiting weeks to get appointments.

‘GPs are the core of what the NHS is and they need support to ensure that the NHS is able to survive and thrive.’