The A&E crisis could be eased by reducing the time GPs are having to spend on paperwork, according to UKIP.
The party said it would support reducing working to targets and box-ticking and suggested GP time should not be clogged up with doing appraisals, revalidation, CQC visits or attending CCG meetings.
In a statement, MEP and UKIP spokesperson on health Louise Boers blamed the Labour Party for the ‘tick-box data collection culture’, saying it was ‘no wonder’ some patients were having problems getting a GP appointment.
She also warned GPs work ‘11-13 hour days’ and any more work would lead to GPs getting sick or leaving the profession.
Ms Boers said: ‘Heading instead to A&E is not necessarily the best course of action but people worried about their health, particularly if elderly or with young children, understandably want to be seen sooner rather than later.
‘Just imagine how many more patients could be accommodated if GP’s (sic) across the country were freed from the data collection burden. Most GPs are working 11-13 hour days and simply cannot do any more and extra stress will just lead to them going off sick themselves or leaving the profession.
‘While the emergency crisis continues if GPs were absolved from doing any of the routine work such as attending clinical commissioning group meetings, chronic target-chasing, appraisal work, revalidation, CQC visits etc they could be freed up to see acute emergencies.’
However, Ms Boers also blamed immigration for the pressure A&E departments are facing. She said: ‘With nearly 250,000 new people coming into the country each year our health services are at breaking point and the impact of uncontrolled immigration must not be overlooked as contributing to the crisis.’
The current Government has announced plans to slap a 150% charge on non-EU patients accessing NHS treatment but the BMA has warned this may lead to doctors having to waste time acting as ‘border guards’.