The General Election and Its Impact on UK General Practice & Primary Care

The General Election and Its Impact on UK General Practice & Primary Care

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As we approach the general election, the future of the UK's primary care sector hangs in the balance.

Each political party has unveiled its plans for addressing the challenges facing the NHS, with a focus on improving access to GPs, enhancing community services, and modernising healthcare infrastructure.

At Eligo, we care about these developments as they directly affect the well-being of our candidates and the budget challenges faced by our clients in the primary care sector. We are committed to supporting both our healthcare professionals and the organisations that rely on them.

Here’s what the parties pledge when it comes to access to primary care and general practice:


Female GP holding a female patients hand


Conservative Party Pledges


  • Build or modernise 250 GP surgeries, primarily in areas of new housing growth.


  • Construct 50 new community diagnostic centres to provide an additional 2.5 million checks per year.

Pharmacy First:

  • (Which enables people to refer themselves, or be referred by NHS 111, GPs and others, to pharmacies for minor illnesses or urgent repeat medicine supplies). Expand this scheme to cover menopause support, contraception and treatment for chest infections to free up 20 million GP appointments annually.



Labour Party Pledges

Neighbourhood Health Service:

  • Transition the NHS to a more community-focused model by moving to a ‘neighbourhood health service’ with more care delivered in local communities, shifting resources to primary care and community services over time.
  • Alongside trailing ‘neighbourhood health centres’, bringing together existing community services such as family doctors, district nurses, care workers, physiotherapists, palliative care specialists and mental health specialists under one roof.

GP Appointments:

  • Guarantee face-to-face appointments for all who want them and incentivise GPs to see the same patients for continuity of care.
  • Deliver a modern appointment-booking system.
  • Bring back ‘the family doctor’ by incentivising GPs to ensure people always see the same GP.
  • Allow other professionals, such as opticians, to make direct referrals to specialist services or tests, and expand self-referral routes where appropriate.


Pharmacist Prescribing:

  • Establish a Community Pharmacist Prescribing Service, granting more pharmacists independent prescribing rights.



Liberal Democrats Pledges

GP Access:

  • Ensure a right to see a GP or appropriate staff within 7 days, or within 24 hours if urgent.
  • Named GP for Seniors:
  • Provide those aged 70 and older, and those with long-term health conditions, access to a named GP.

Extended Prescribing Rights:

  • Extend prescribing rights for qualified pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and paramedics.
  • Work towards a fairer and more sustainable long-term funding model for pharmacies.

Support for Rural Surgeries: 

  • Establish a Strategic Small Surgeries Fund to sustain services in rural areas 

GP Appointments

  • Establish a Strategic Small Surgeries Fund to sustain services in rural areas 
  • Introduce a universal 24/7 GP booking system
  • Give everyone the legal right to see a GP within seven days, or 24 hours if in urgent need. 


Male Pharmacist on the phone in a Pharmacy holding medication in his hand.


Current challenges to the primary care workforce

GP employment is currently a hotly debated topic, with Rishi Sunak recently being interrupted during a live interview by a GP who expressed her concerns about general practice. Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer Chair of the BMA GP’s committee has said that general practice is witnessing a ‘constructive dismissal’ with GP services being broken, and over the past decade more than 1,000 practices have closed their doors for good. “We are not allowed to spend any of the funds provided by the government to hire staff on GPs or new practice nurses. It’s no surprise that, as the lady mentioned, we are now seeing thousands of unemployed GPs. This is a national disgrace.”

Adding to this, insights from a recent video from the Doctors' Association UK, shed light on the paradox of accessing GPs despite high demand. The video discusses the increasing administrative burdens on GPs, which reduce the time they can spend with patients, leading to frustration for both doctors and patients.

This is a highly complex argument but one important talking point is the concern that GPs are being replaced by “lesser qualified” clinicians to cut costs, through the use of the ARRS Scheme.

The ARRS scheme was set up to address the increasing demand on primary care services by employing a wider range of healthcare professionals, including physician associates and nurses. Read more about the ARRS scheme here.  With aims to see more patients, reduce waiting lists, and manage budgets more effectively. However, it raises significant concerns within the sector.

Many fear that the ARRS is being used as a cost-saving measure, replacing fully qualified GPs with lower-paid, less experienced practitioners. This concern is echoed by a GP Online report stating that four in five GPs believe ARRS staff are replacing doctors in general practice. Moreover, there are alarming reports of unemployed locum GPs relying on food banks and seeking work outside the NHS.

We believe that while the ARRS can enhance service delivery, it should complement, not replace the essential role of qualified GPs. Both ARRS staff and GPs must be integrated into the primary health care system to ensure comprehensive and high-quality care. The British Medical Association (BMA) has also highlighted the need for the new government to prioritise addressing GP unemployment.



Male GP and Male patient sitting on a doctors bed and both smiling


The upcoming general election will have a significant impact the UK's primary care sector.

Each party has outlined plans to improve general practice and community services, but the successful implementation of these policies will depend on balancing innovation with the preservation of high standards of care. As a recruitment and staffing provider, we advocate for a model that utilises both the ARRS and fully qualified GPs to enhance NHS primary care services for all.



Are you a Nurse, GP or ANP looking for work? Check out our current medical sessions 

If you are a practice looking for highly qualified clinicians such as Nurses, ANP’s and GP’s submit a vacancy with us.





The Kings Fund:

GP Online:


Sky News: