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GPs to be paid to let patients choose which doctor under Labour plans

GP surgeries to be paid more if they let patients choose which doctor they see, under plans unveiled by Labour

  • Family doctors, who can earn about £142,000, will be offered cash in the plans 
  • READ MORE: Fifth of patients waiting over 2 months to have tumours removed

Labour will hand over more cash to GP surgeries that let patients choose which doctor they see. 

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting, who unveiled the plans, said Brits should also be able choose if their appointment is face-to-face or over the phone.

He said patients should stop being forced to ‘bend their lives’ to suit GPs, who earn £112,000 on average.

Mr Streeting did not detail how much extra cash GPs would receive.

However, he claimed the Labour policy won’t cost a penny, as it would be funded by taking cash away from practices with a ‘poor record’.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has revealed plans to offer GPs more cash if they let patients see their preferred medic 

Labour said two-thirds of patients in England never get to see their preferred medic, up from 50 per cent in 2018.

Mr Streeting, writing in the Telegraph, said it was the time NHS started putting patients first. 

He said: ‘The NHS exists to serve its patients. It’s in the name. 

‘Increasingly, patients are instead made to bend their lives to suit the health service.

‘Labour will give patients back control over their own healthcare.’

READ MORE: One in five patients are waiting more than two months to have cancerous tumours removed in parts of England – so how does YOUR area fare? 

The latest NHS figures show only 69 per cent of GP appointments in June were held face-to-face, a far cry from the 80 per cent pre-pandemic.

Patients are also growing increasingly discontent with their family doctors. 

A damming analysis by MailOnline found only one in 10 people are happy with their GP practice in some areas.

Nationally, satisfaction plummeted to an all-time low, fuelled by the appointments crisis that frustrated Brits into giving up trying to see their doctor altogether.

Just seven in 10 patients ranked their practice as ‘fairly good’ or ‘very good’.

Patients have bemoaned the ‘Glastonbury-esque’ telephone rush to try and get an appointment in the morning, only to be left on hold. 

The crisis in appointments has been blamed for forcing patients to seek help at over-crowded A&E departments. 

Overall, 71 per cent of survey respondents rated their GP practice as ‘good’. However, this is the lowest figure since the survey began in 2017 when 85 per cent were happy with their surgery’s performance

In 2021, 7.6 per cent of those who could not get a GP appointment said they went to A&E, which is equivalent to around 282,000 people. But by 2023 that figure had grown to 12.2 per cent, or 696,000 people, a rise of 146 per cent

The proportion of GP appointments in England that were held face-to-face in May was 69.8 per cent, it has now dropped to 69 per cent in June

While Labour hasn’t set a target for how soon a patient should be able to see their GP, it has vowed to do better than the two-week wait promised by the Government. 

But GPs have repeatedly claimed they are doing their best with reduced staffing numbers and are often forced to see an unsafe number of patients per day in rapid appointments.

The latest NHS data, published last week, show there are now 26,500 fully qualified permanent family doctors in England, down from 28,600 in 2015.

At the same time, the population has grown, with 9,800 patients per GP practice in England, compared to 7,500 patients per practice eight years prior.

The remaining GP workforce are available for fewer hours. 

NHS data shows less than a quarter (23 per cent) of fully-qualified family doctors now work full-time. 

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