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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Robert Dex

Labour pledges to end 8am scramble for GP appointments by training more doctors and updating the NHS app

Labour has pledged to end the 8am scramble for GP appointments by training more doctors and updating the NHS app so slots are easy to book and rearrange.

Under the party’s plans, family doctors, physiotherapists, mental health specialists, dentists, district nurses, care workers and health visitors would be brought under one roof as part of a trial of Neighbourhood Health Centres.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said his party is also committed to bringing back the family doctor, to give patients continuity.

Mr Streeting said: “The Health Secretary is too busy preparing her Conservative Party leadership campaign to stop the strikes in the NHS, or even to tell us what her plan is to get patients a GP appointment.

“Rishi Sunak doesn’t understand how bad things are in the NHS, nor does he have a plan for the NHS, because he doesn’t use the NHS. Rishi Sunak isn’t waiting a month for a GP appointment, so he doesn’t care that you are.

Wes Streeting and Sir Keir Starmer in a hospital (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

“The public will rightly conclude that nothing will change if the Conservatives get another five years, the chaos in the NHS will continue, and millions of patients will be left waiting a month just to see a GP.

“Labour will provide the investment and reform needed to get patients seen on time again and bring back the family doctor.

“In 2024, patients should not have to queue up at 8am on the phone to book an appointment, or worse still queue around the block.

“We will end the 8am scramble by allowing patients to easily book appointments to see the doctor they want, in the manner they choose. But that change will only happen if people vote for the NHS and vote Labour on 4th July.”

According to the party’s analysis of the GP patient survey, five million tried and failed to get a GP appointment every month in 2023.

The Conservative Party’s manifesto says it wants to build 100 new GP surgeries in England, funded by reducing the number of NHS managers.

The issue of private healthcare has been raised several times during the General Election campaign after Sir Keir Starmer said he would not pay to go private if he or a loved one faced a long wait for NHS treatment, while Rishi Sunak said he would.Labour has previously said it would use the private sector to treat NHS patients in the short term to get waiting lists down.

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