Saturday 9 November 2019 10:45 am

General election 2019: Conservatives commit to boost GP numbers

The Conservative Party has said it will fund the training of an additional 500 GPs in England every year if they win the election.

It would mean up to an additional 3,000 newly-qualified GPs or doctors doing their GP training in surgeries by 2024-2025 in an aim to reduce patient waiting times.

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The Tories say it would see the current tally of 3,538 GPs in training each year rise to around 4,000 from 2021.

However, the party previously failed to meet a pledge to recruit an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020.

Labour said it would also invest in family doctor services and more GPs and added it had become “harder and harder to get a GP appointment under the Tories”.

The Conservative Party said it would also recruit thousands more NHS nurses, physios and pharmacists to work in surgeries and ensure all patients can book and have a consultation on the phone or online.

They have pledged to invest £2.5bn over four years and forecast a 15 per cent increase in appointments over the course of a year, which currently stands at 300m in England.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We all know the feeling of ringing a GP surgery first thing in the morning, holding on to get an appointment. 

“We recognise our GPs are under increasing pressure, so we will put record funding into our GP surgeries, and to help everyone get the care they need,” he said.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth announced Labour’s plans to expand GP training places at the party’s conference last month.

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He said they would increase from 3,500 to 5,000 a year to ease the burden on GPs.

“You can’t trust the Tories with our NHS,” he said. “They always make election promises which they fail to deliver on. 

“Tory ministers promised us 5,000 extra GPs but in fact we have lost 1,600 GPs under the Tories.”