Labour would guarantee patients GP appointments within 48 hours as part of a radical package for Scotland’s NHS that would allow patients to book their session online, Kezia Dugdale will say at her party’s pre-election conference.
The party will also expand the role of pharmacists at practices
In an audacious move to challenge the SNP over the party’s record on the NHS Ms Dudgale will today claim that general practice is facing its worst crisis in a generation.
Ms Dugdale in an address to delegates at Scottish Labour’s annual conference today will say that a quarter of practices are struggling to fill vacancies and more than £1 billion has been cut from general practice under the SNP government during its nine years in power.
The Scottish Labour leader is expected to state that the pledge to guarantee every Scot an appointment at a general practice surgery within 48 hours, will be a key plank of her party’s manifesto ahead of the election on 5 May.
Under the plan £500 million would be invested into primary care, with the cash to fund the appointment pledge doming from part of the £1.6bn for health coming to the Scottish Parliament over the next five years, through Barnett consequentials – the system for distributing cash within the UK.
A Labour government at Holyrood would set a target of appointment with a primary care professional within 48 hours by the end of the next parliament.
Practices would be helped to deliver the 48-hour patient waiting time guarantee with the option of booking appointments online . The shake-up of Scotland’s NHS would an see expansion of the role of pharmacies, in a bid to relieve pressure on GPs and giving them more power over prescribing and minor ailments services.
An SNP spokesman said: “The challenge to Labour is whether they will match our commitment to increase the frontline NHS budget in at least real terms in every year of the next parliament.”