Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow health secretary, dropped into the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency on Wednesday to meet residents, at the Sacred Heart’s church hall, in Uppermill to talk about the party’s plans for the NHS and social care.
Following the meeting Andy joined Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s parliamentary candidate, knocking on doors and talking to local people in their homes, as she canvassed around Saddleworth West and Lees with council candidate Adrian Alexander.
Commenting after the session Debbie, who is Andy’s parliamentary private secretary and chair of the parliamentary Labour Party’s Health Committee, said: “Andy listened carefully to the concerns of local residents, many of whom are carers, about future of the NHS and social care.
“Andy was really clear that the NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of the Tories and the Lib Dems.
“In 2010 David Cameron promised to protect the NHS but then launched a wasteful £3bn top down re-organisation, created a year-round crisis in A&E, and now waiting lists are at their highest for six years with one in five local people now waiting a week or more to see a GP. And one in three local people had to wait a few days to see a GP.
“In a survey I conducted into access to GP services 69% of respondents said that they had difficulties getting to see a GP. One respondent said they queued outside the GPs’ surgery at 8am but still couldn’t get an appointment until the following week. In many cases even when patients have had to wait they see the pressure primary care staff are under and see it as a system issue. There just aren’t enough GPs and nurses.
“Only Labour will guarantee a GP appointment in 48 hours or on the same day for those who need one.
“Andy spoke at length about Labour’s alternative plan for the NHS, which I’ve worked on closely with him, and that includes securing the future of our NHS with 36,000 more frontline staff with our fully costed £2.5bn Time to Care fund.
“Time to Care will be funded by money raised from a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million, cracking down on tax avoidance and a new levy on tobacco companies’ profits.
“Only Labour will guarantee a maximum one-week wait for cancer tests and create a new Cancer Treatments Fund to improve access to drugs, radiotherapy and surgery. We will join up services from home to hospital with a single point of contact for those who need it bringing together physical health, mental health and social care.”