Ed Miliband vows to guarantee patients a GP appointment within 48 hours

Ed Miliband vows to guarantee patients a GP appointment within 48 hours

Labour claims £100m cost of pledge can be met by cutting cost of imposing competition and by keeping patients out of A&E.

Ed Miliband is promising an appointment at a GP surgery within 48 hours of seeking a consultation and within 24 hours if the patient is in serious need.

The bold promise is likely to be deeply unpopular with doctors, and raises serious questions about whether it is feasible in the context of an NHS budget under sustained pressure. Labour says GPs who persistently fail to meet the new guarantee will lose some funding as a penalty.

Miliband’s aides claimed the cost of the promise would be £100m a year, which could be found by cutting the costs of imposing competition on the NHS, as well as by keeping patients out of A&E.

The party claims £46m can be saved by ending the role of the regulator Monitor in enforcing competition.

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