Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to recruiting an extra 5,000 GPs to the NHS ‘as soon as possible’.
Health secretary Matt Hancock previously told Pulse there was no specific date for when the Government would meet this target.
Mr Hancock said in January that the target would not be met by 2020, as former health secretary Jeremy Hunt had pledged in 2015, but that he hoped it would be ‘sooner’ than in the next five years.
The Prime Minister was responding to a question about retaining GPs in the House of Commons last week.
Conservative MP Andrew Selous asked the Prime Minister: ‘Will the Prime Minister do everything she can to make sure that we look after their [GP’s] job satisfaction, and specifically to help them with the pensions penalty that some of them face in their mid-50s, which is driving some of them out of the profession?’
In response, Ms May referred to the investment and extra staff pledged in the long term plan.
She said: ‘Another way in which we can help GPs is by providing funding, which we will see, towards up to 20,000 extra staff in GP practices, helping to free up doctors to spend more time with the patients who need them.
‘As my hon. Friend has indicated, we are committed to recruiting more GPs – an extra 5,000 – as soon as possible, and to ensuring that they can maintain their careers and continue to provide services to their patients as they do, day in and day out.’
It follows the news that the workforce implementation plan, mentioned in the long-term plan, has been delayed again.
The plan was meant to be published in early April, however the release date is now yet to be confirmed by NHS Improvement.