Action is needed to attract more GPs to the coast

MP Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State of Health discussed local NHS issues with parliamentary candidate Victoria Atkins when she invited him to Mablethorpe this week. EMN-150427-164727001
MP Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State of Health discussed local NHS issues with parliamentary candidate Victoria Atkins when she invited him to Mablethorpe this week. EMN-150427-164727001

GPs need to be attracted to the coast and be able to handle its challenges said Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, When he visited Mablethorpe this week.

He was invited to the coast by Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Victoria Atkins, who wanted him to see some of the challenges in delivering healthcare in seaside towns.

Mr Hunt was questioned about the Conservatives plans to have GP practices open seven days a week and how this would work for the coast which has seen its surgeries opening hours cut

He said: “I have been having a discussion with local GPs about this very issue. Part of solving it, is making GPs attracted to come here and that means changing the GP contract, so it has that continuity of care.

“Also to make sure they can cope with the challenge of lots of visitors during the season, which creates a lot pressure on practices. But these are the issues that Vicky has said she’ll raise with me if she’s elected on May 7.”

There was also the discussion on why Jeremy believed that the Conservatives should get another shot at sorting out the NHS after five years in power.

“I think we have done a pretty good job so far. We had the deepest, financial crisis since the Second World War and the previous Labour government are planning to cut the health budget,” he said.

“We actually increased it significantly and we have said we’ll continue to do that. The reason is the Conservatives recognise we have an aging population, and we want to make sure every single older person is treated with dignity, respect and the highest standards of care. That’s why we prioritised the NHS.

“You can only put money into the NHS if you have a strong economy - it’s generating the tax revenues to pay for it and it’s the Conservatives that have the long term plan to make that possible.”

Mr Hunt also said local hospitals in Lincolnshire are safe from closure.

“I’m confident they’ll survive and do more than survive, because we need better care closer to home,” he said.

“In terms of the safety, I think all NHS hospitals are getting safer and safer and I want the NHS to be the safest, most caring healthcare system in the world.

“I’ve not shyed away from challenging the NHS and I think we’ve fallen short on that and I’m confident if we stick to the plans that we have, we can deliver really outstanding care.”

Mr Hunt added that he thought Victoria was the best candidate for this area: “What we have with Victoria is someone from her own background, is a very powerful advocate and I think what the people of Mablethorpe, Louth and Horncastle need is someone who is going to stand up for the area.”