Speaking to MPs, Hunt said that “poor primary care provision” was behind some four million additional people unnecessarily visiting accident and emergency services.
But the General Practitioners Committee called Hunt’s claims “nonsense”.
A Department of Health spokesperson played down Hunt’s accusations insisting the Health Secretary was “clearly not blaming GPs” and that he was referring to procedures set by the former Labour government.
Hunt was responding to figures published by Labour that showed the NHS had missed its national A&E waiting times each week for the past six months.
He claimed this was down to poor alternatives to primary care which was the result of changes introduced by Labour to the GP contract.
“The reason that there is so much pressure on A&E is because of the disastrous GP contract that was negotiated,” he told the House of Commons. “That is what is causing the huge pressure. That is what we are determined to put right.”
The Health Secretary said the solution to the rising number of A&E admissions was to analyse the GP contract, introduce alternatives to secondary care and integrate health and social care services.