Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Labour Promise on GP appointment within 48 hours

I was delivering election leaflets this morning while listening on headphones to Labour Health Shadow Secretary of State , Andy Burnham MP, being interviewed on "Today" (Radio 4) about this new policy.

The Tories got rid of the right to see a GP within 48 hours in 2010. Andy made the common sense argument that the failure to see your GP quickly could mean that by the time your condition is diagnosed it will be more expensive for the NHS to deal with it.

Never mind the distress and discomfort of those waiting for an appointment. Particularly men who tend to wait until the last possible moment before seeking an appointment in the first place. 

I am aware from friends and relatives how difficult it is to see your GP (touch wood I haven't needed to see my GP for a while) and as a Union rep I am in constant contact with members who are off on certificated sickness leave who often have awful problems getting an early appointments to see their GP. The problem has got far worse since 2010.

In the interview Andy was accused of wanting to have national targets imposed on GPs. He made in response the perfectly rational argument that there should be national minimum standards on such vital services. You don't want a "postcode lottery" with primary health care.

To me it is clear that the Tories and their allies believe that the "market always knows best" and they think there is nothing wrong with letting conflicted self-employed GPs decide what local services and standards they should be paid to provide. This is clearly nonsense as anyone who has waited for over a week to see their GP knows all too well.

This is yet another Ed Miliband "clear red water" Labour policy that shows we are different than the Tories. Keep up the good work and more of the same please Ed.
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