One of the most common complaints I get about the NHS is the difficulty of getting an appointment with your local GP.
To a large degree, this is the result of the failure of the last Government to provide the necessary infrastructure to cope with our growing population. We have the same problem with school places, congestion on our roads, overcrowding on public transport and too many people chasing too few homes. The problem is most acute here in London where the population is growing very rapidly.
The first and most obvious thing we need to do is recruit more GPs. A Conservative Government will ensure the NHS has almost 5,000 more GPs by 2020.
But primary care also needs to change to reflect the fact that many of us lead much busier lives. I was therefore delighted to hear the Prime Minister say that by 2020 everyone will have access to a GP seven days a week.
A Conservative Government will support GP practices to ensure that they are able to offer their patients improved access, including:
- access 8am-8pm and on Saturdays and Sundays;
- email, Skype and phone consultations for those who prefer them to a face-to-face appointment when it is safe to do so; and
- smarter use of electronic prescriptions and online booking of appointments.