GPs should be given cash “incentives” for seeing patients face to face this winter, with the aim of taking pressure off hospitals during the busiest season for the NHS, a Bucks MP has said.

Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey told a Westminster Hall debate that more support for GP surgeries could have a “trickle down” effect for other NHS services.

She said: “If we want to reduce the overall burden on the NHS this winter, finding a safe and secure way for more residents to see their GP will reduce the overall pressure long-term on the NHS.”

She added: “It perhaps is something that each time a GP sees someone in person they could get an extra payment, or an additional payment for visiting someone in their home.”

The MP pointed to similar incentive schemes which had been set up at some GP surgeries to screen for diabetes and cervical cancer.

Ms Morrissey also pointed to her own family’s personal experience of misdiagnosis due to a telephone GP appointment, saying: “For days my own mother-in-law was misdiagnosed as having a urinary tract infection when, in fact, she had suffered a stroke.

“Precious time was lost and terrible damage done because she was not seen by a GP.

“For every hundred ailments that could be diagnosed safely by not seeing a GP, there will be one that won’t, one that could prove to be fatal, and that is not a price worth paying.”

Labour shadow health minister Rosena Allin-Khan said GPs were “overstretched and under-resourced” even before the pandemic, and were now facing abuse because of Government rhetoric about appointments.

Tooting MP Dr Allin-Khan said: “Instead of delivering on their manifesto promises, this Government would rather stoke the flames of division, to attempt to shift the blame onto GPs and encourage local residents to vent their frustrations at them rather than the Government.

“The Health Secretary (Sajid Javid) has resorted to attempts to name and shame GP practices who are unable to guarantee face-to-face appointments.

“They will then deny additional, essential funding to the practices they regard as performing poorly in this regarding.

“This provocation does nothing to improve patient care, it only serves to deflect anger away from the Government and towards the health service.”

Health minister Maria Caulfield said there was “no war on GPs” and added: “We know what it is like as MPs in this place to face a torrent of abuse, and if it is not acceptable for us it is certainly not acceptable for them.”

She also said that in the short term the Government was hoping to relieve some of the pressure on GPs with its winter access package.

Funding from this would help to provide a “cloud-based system” to help with telephone calls, and also help GP surgeries recruit more staff, extend opening hours, or change the layout of surgeries to deal with demand from patients.

She added that in the long term, the Government had “already recruited 10,000 of the 26,000 staff” for GP surgeries promised in its manifesto and was “strengthening plans to increase the number of doctors in general practice”.