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Labour promises £900m boost for primary care if elected this year



The Labour Party has pledged an extra £900m for primary care – including general practice – if elected to Government this year.

The funding promise, which forms part of a £5bn NHS rescue package, was announced by shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth ahead of the Labour Party conference on Saturday.

Mr Ashworth said that GPs are under ‘huge pressure’ but that this investment would give them the resources to provide more ‘accessible services’ for patients.

Mr Ashworth told the Mirror: ‘Primary care has been a key failure of this Government’s performance on the NHS. Every year, it has got harder and harder to see a GP.

‘Our plans would mean an extra £900m for primary care this year, ensuring GPs have the resources they need to provide better and more ­accessible services.’

Speaking to Pulse at the conference in Liverpool yesterday, Mr Ashworth added: ‘I know as the shadow health secretary the frustration people have trying to get an appointment with a GP, ringing on a Monday morning and having to ring multiple times trying to get an appointment.

‘But I also know the huge pressure that GPs are under. They are on the brink of burnout. This week we announced an extra £900m for general practice if we get into Government this year. I think that is the future.’

Earlier this year, Mr Ashworth made a commitment at Pulse Live to increase the proportion of NHS funding that goes to primary care, including a £500m primary care infrastructure investment fund.

Last week, NHS England announced it was ‘ahead of target’ to increase GP funding in line with the GP Forward View pledge, after it announced an annual rise of £580m.

But the BMA dispted the figure as ‘potentially misleading’ since it included funding for drug reimbursements and other initiatives like GP services in A&E.