The Conservatives have promised to create fifty million appointments in GP surgeries every year by hiring 6,000 extra doctors and another 6,000 support staff including pharmacists, nurses and physios.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We will put record funding into our GP surgeries, and to help everyone get the care they need, we will create 50 million extra appointments in GP surgeries each year, with the sort of easy online booking that we expect in other areas of our lives.”
The announcement represents over a 15% increase, compared to the the current 307 million appointments per year in GP surgeries.
This is in addition to a previously announced package to increase the number of NHS staff, improve international recruitment and retention of domestic staff, and train an extra 500 GPs a year from 2021-22.
A Conservative statement also said the additional nurses, physios and pharmacists would be on top of the 20,000 extra staff promised through the creation of primary care networks.
Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund welcomed the commitments to improving capacity and access in general practice, but said that “the success of these measures will hinge on the ability to recruit and – more importantly – retain enough GPs and professionals such as physiotherapists and pharmacists.”
“Across the country, health and care services are grappling with severe staff shortages, with approximately 100,000 vacancies in NHS trusts and 122,000 vacancies in social care at any one time. If the next government wants to improve the care and support available to patient and the public, they must first tackle the workforce crisis,” Murray added.