Conservatives pledge £1bn to increase number of GP appointments – but will cut NHS management | Politics News

The Conservative government has pledged £1bn a year in a bid to increase the number of GP appointments in the UK.

The Tories say they would build both GP surgeries and community diagnostic centres if they were re-elected to government.

The party wants to build 100 new GP surgeries and modernise another 150.

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However, this bears echoes of the 2019 promise to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 – something the government will not be able to do, according to the National Audit Office.

The report released last year found only 32 of the 40 new hospitals promised by Boris Johnson would be built by the end of the decade – and some may be too small.

The Conservatives also want to increase the range of treatments available for people at pharmacies, after previously introducing the scheme.

They claim treating conditions such as acne and chest infections would free up 20 million GP appointments once fully fired up.

Rishi Sunak said: “The NHS is one of our most important national assets and the Conservatives are taking the long-term decisions to secure its future.

“As part of our clear plan we are investing in community services making it quicker, easier and more convenient for patients to receive the care they need and help to relieve pressure on hospital services.

“Only the Conservatives will take the bold action needed to secure the NHS’s future so that you can be safe in the knowledge that the NHS will be there for you and your family whenever you need it.”

It comes as the Tories continue to languish in the polls behind Labour.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told the Mail on Sunday that his party’s tax cuts failed to draw in voters – and also said another cut would not have changed opinions.

He said: “The fact that we’ve had two significant tax cuts that haven’t really changed the polls demonstrates to me that having a third one with the same again is unlikely to change the calculus.”

He added: “The Bank of England’s view is that there’s an 18-month delay between changing interest rates and it impacting on people’s finances… so the idea that you have a drop in interest rates and suddenly everyone feels good… is to underestimate how people are making this decision.”

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The government’s healthcare pledge will require an extra £1bn by the end of the decade, and will be funded by cutting NHS managers to pre-COVID levels and reducing the use of management consultants, they said.

The announcement comes as Labour announced its plans for cutting legal migration.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “The Conservatives have broken their manifesto promise to recruit more GPs, instead cutting 1,700 since 2016 and closing down more than 450 GP practices.

“Patients are finding it harder than ever before to see a GP, so why would they trust this latest empty promise?

“The doctor can’t see you now, and it will only get worse if the Tories are given another five years.

“Labour will train thousands more GPs and cut the red tape that ties up GPs’ time, so we can bring back the family doctor.”


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