Labour promises GP appointment within 48 hours in 'real plan' for NHS


Labour will promise Scots an appointment with a GP within 48 hours as part of a "real plan" for the future of the National Health Service.

Kezia Dugdale, the party's Scottish leader, will make the commitment as she addresses her party conference in Glasgow.

If Labour wins May's Holyrood election, it will invest £500 million into primary care services north of the border over the next five years - part of the £1.6 billion of cash it says will come to Scotland as a consequence of health spending in England.

Ms Dugdale will also use her keynote conference address to urge Scots to use their votes on May 5 to "do things differently".

The SNP have been in power at Holyrood since 2007, and continue to dominate the polls in Scotland, while Labour is facing a challenge from the Scottish Conservatives, who are aiming to become the second party in the Scottish Parliament.

With health devolved to Holyrood, Ms Dugdale will tell party activists Labour would increase funding for the NHS each year of the next parliament in real terms.

"Labour will use our powers to offer a real plan for the future of our NHS," she will say.

"Our Labour Party, that established the NHS in the 1940s, will be there to ensure that our health service is fit for the challenges of the 2040s.

"Because the NHS isn't just another policy agenda for Labour it is part of who we are as a party, our pride in its creation inspires everything else we do."

Ms Dugdale will add: "We can take the pressure off our hospitals by getting primary care right, delivering the NHS services people need in their communities. Instead of cuts to GPs we've seen in the last decade, our plan for the NHS will guarantee an appointment at your local surgery that you can book online within 48 hours."

With new powers over tax and welfare coming to Holyrood, the Labour leader will also argue that in this election voters will "see who our leaders really are".

In answer to that question Ms Dugdale will say clearly "I am a socialist" as she sets out her vision of a Scotland where "we can choose to be better as a society" and where "people aren't fated to be rich or poor".

She will state: "It isn't a foregone conclusion that children born to poor families are half as likely to get to university as their wealthier classmates.

"It isn't inevitable that the same child born poor will die nearly a decade earlier.

"It isn't their destiny that poor children will be more likely to die in an accident, more likely to go to prison, more likely to take their own life when they are adults.

"We aren't fated to to live in an unfair society.

"We can choose to be different. In this election we can use both our votes to do things differently."