Candidates clash on NHS as Labour claims longer GP waits

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Louth and Horncastle’s general election candidates have clashed over healthcare, after Labour claimed people are waiting longer to see a doctor.

Cleethorpes-based Matthew says since the Coalition came to power in 2010, it has “savaged the NHS”.

“Upon arrival they made the decision to scrap a target that guaranteed patients a GP appointment within 48 hours. Labour will work to reverse this damage,” he said.

The North East Lincolnshire councillor says with people facing delays to see their GP, they are instead going to A&E. He cites the latest NHS England GP survey which says 15 per cent of English patients are having to wait a week or more to see a GP, compared with 14 per cent a year ago.

The Labour candidate concluded longer waiting made it harder for GPs to diagnose problems, something a substandard transport network made even worse for people living in Louth, Horncastle and Mablethorpe.

“The Conservative Party locally has kept silent on this issue as has UKIP. Matthew Brown is calling on them to show how they will fight for improved healthcare in the area,” he said.

UKIP candidate Colin Mair from Coningsby agreed that Lincolnshire has ‘huge problems’ with health, something the County Councillor deals with as a member of Lincolnshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee and as a member of the Practice Panel for GP surgeries in Lincolnshire.

GPs are leaving the NHS “in droves” claiming stress, and Lincolnshire is having to recruit foreign nurses, who “cannot always understand the Lincolnshire dialect.”

Immigration and a rising birth-rate is also placing pressure on services.

Already in Coningsby, it is difficult to get a GP appointment on the same day, which is making some go to A&E.

“What I’m personally doing, (is) shouting as loud as I can and ask the right questions.”

The leader of Lincolshire’s 11 UKIP councillors, says the NHS is “one of best examples in the world of a safety net.”

The NHS needs better management. UKIP would not privatise it, but the party would reveal its policy at its conference this week.

“We have to get to grips with management, otherwise it’s just a big hole in the ground you keep throwing money at,” Coun Mair added.

Conservative candidate Victoria Atkins responded: “I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of three. I use the NHS day in, day out. It is thanks to the NHS that I am fighting fit and always have been.”

“I care deeply about the NHS and will speak out on the health issues that concern the people of Louth and Horncastle in my own way and in my own time over the coming months,” she said.