Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Health Secretary, met local GPs in Kempston yesterday to discuss Labour’s plans to integrate health and social care into a single National Health and Care Service. Andy Burnham and local Labour candidate Patrick Hall met GPs at King Street surgery in Kempston where they had a lively discussion about the pressures facing primary care in the area, problems with GP recruitment, and how best to meet the health challenges of the 21stcentury.
Labour plans to recruit 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, create 5,000 new homecare positions, and 3,000 more midwives, all of which will enable the NHS to cope with the increasing demands of an ageing population. At the same time Labour will merge the health and social care budgets enabling more people to be treated at home, where they want to be, and saving the NHS money.
Andy Burnham said:
"It was really useful to come here to Kempston today and hear first-hand from GPs about the challenges facing primary care in Bedford and Kempston. I was pleased to be able to tell them that the Party that created the NHS in the 20th century is going to reset it for the 21st as a national health and care service. We need an NHS that sees not just the immediate problem but treats the whole person. Our aspiration is to create a service that supports people with dementia, autism and mental ill health as well as it treats cancer.
"I have long warned that, if social care in England is allowed to collapse, it will drag down the rest of the NHS. That is what is unfolding before us in the NHS right now and is a root cause of the crisis in A&E. For the want of spending a few pounds in people's homes on decent home care, we are spending thousands of pounds keeping older people in hospital even when they are able to leave. This is not sustainable in human or financial terms. The increasing hospitalisation of older people is no vision for the ageing society.
"Labour's plan will lift the NHS out of this cycle, put the NHS on a sustainable path and give everyone who is concerned for its future a vision to unite around.”
Patrick Hall said:
“There are real issues in Bedford and Kempston around the increasing pressure on GP services which have been compounded by this government’s total failure to deal with the winter crisis. The result is more and more people having to go to A&E, many of whom could be dealt with outside hospital, pushing frontline services to breaking point.
“Labour’s has a real plan to create a health service that is fit for the 21st century. Unlike the Tories we are bringing doctors with us which is why it was so important for Andy Burnham to be here today, meeting with the local GPs and actually listening to what they have to say.”