College responds to Labour's plans for general practice, welcoming focus but highlighting need for funding

The College responds to Labour’s manifesto plans to prioritise primary care and train thousands more GPs

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It is encouraging to see primary care prominent in Labour’s plans for the NHS. It makes sense to deliver more care in the community, where patients want it and where it is more cost effective – but this must be followed by sufficient resource, and it isn’t clear in Labour’s plan how and when they would fund this. General practice is the first port of call for most patients and the bedrock of the health service, but it has been neglected for decades.

“GPs share our patients’ frustration when they struggle to secure a timely appointment or the kind of appointment they want. This is the direct result of not having the workforce we need to cope with our unmanageable workload – so it’s essential that Labour’s commitment today to train thousands more GPs, should they become the next Government, is realised. The College has long called for recruitment and retention initiatives – key calls in our manifesto – to ensure there are enough GPs to safeguard the future of general practice and provide the best quality of care for patients.

“It’s also reassuring to see Labour recognise that addressing issues with social care and mental health services, as well as widening health inequalities, will be vital parts of the jigsaw to improve care for our patients – and that their manifesto includes commitments to prevention and community care, as we know that these can make a real long-term difference to the nation’s health.   

“As always, the devil will be in the detail and it is essential that these plans are backed up by sufficient funding for primary and community care. We look forward to working with whoever forms the next government to ensure that general practice is fit for the future and provides our patients with access to safe, timely and appropriate GP care.”  

Further information

RCGP press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.