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Conservative pledge on NHS workforce is ‘another ambitious target’, says BMA

The Conservative party’s target to recruit more GPs lacks detail, the BMA has said in response to the party’s full manifesto released over the weekend.

The manifesto pledged 6,000 new doctors in general practice by 2024/25 and an additional 50,000 nurses.

The BMA has said a boost to support for the NHS workforce is ‘long overdue’ but added that without details, it is ‘difficult to see how the Government will achieve the targets.

BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said almost 1,000 GPs have left the profession since 2015.

He said: ‘A boost to the GP workforce is long overdue and necessary. However, without details, it’s difficult to see how any government will achieve this – especially given the clear failure against the current target to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020. Instead, we’ve lost almost 1,000 GPs since 2015.

‘Judging on this record, an additional 50,000 nurses – while needed – is another ambitious target.’

The Conservatives also pledged to hold an urgent review into the pension crisis within its first 30 days of Government, if elected.

Dr Nagpaul said this commitment is ‘not new’ and not what is needed.

He added: ‘We need action. The next chancellor must immediately scrap the damaging annual allowance and tapered annual allowance in defined benefit pension schemes to ensure that no doctor is penalised for going above and beyond for their patients.’

Other pledges include:

  • An NHS visa – offering a fast-track entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated family support for qualified doctors nurses and allied health professionals;
  • A clampdown on health tourism;
  • An increase to the NHS surcharge;
  • More funding for professional training to improve staff morale.

The Labour party pledged to allocate more NHS funding to primary care in their manifesto, whereas the Liberal Democrats promised to financially incentivise working in areas with staff shortages