If Labour takes office, GP offices that do not offer patients basic services would be subject to financial penalties, according to the shadow health secretary.
Wes Streeting has stated to the NHS that Labour “will give back patients control over their own healthcare” and that the “like it or lump it” stance maintained by UK healthcare providers is unacceptable.
This includes giving patients the freedom to choose the doctor they want to see and whether they have a phone or in-person appointment, rather than having those decisions made for them by the surgery.
Mr. Streeting stated in a piece for the Telegraph that “Labour will bring back the family doctor, so people can see the same GP at each session, if they choose to, in addition to providing patients the choice of how they see their GP.
“GP practices will receive incentives to provide continuity of care to patients so that more patients can see the same clinician each time,” the statement reads.
According to Sky News, the idea is cost-neutral because money will be transferred from surgeries that aren’t performing well to those that are.
To achieve the objectives of his party, Mr. Streeting acknowledged the need for more doctors of medicine.
He said that his party would treble the amount of medical school spots available in order to annually train “thousands” of community doctors.
Additionally, permitting self-referral for specialist appointments, expanding the role of pharmacists, and providing mental health assistance in “every school and community” will free up GPs to “offer the treatment only they can provide.”
Over his proposals to restructure or alter the NHS, Mr. Streeting has in the past come into conflict with the medical employees’ union, the British Medical Association.
The shadow health secretary claimed the organization “treated him like a heretic” in December.
In an interview with Sky News at the end of the previous year, he said: “Despite the fact that I announced the largest expansion of NHS staff in history, I have been treated like some kind of heretic by the BMA because I had the temerity to say that we also should expect better service for patients in exchange for that investment – because I think it’s unacceptable that people have to wait on the phone at eight in the morning to get through to a GP.
“I regret to say that I am aware of the strain doctors face.