Pressures on healthcare and problems with recruiting GPs were the hot topics during a visit to Kempston by Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
He joined Bedford and Kempston Labour candidate Patrick Hall during a visit to meet doctors and staff on Friday at King Street Surgery in Kempston where they talked about how best to meet health challenges.
Mr Burnham said: “It was really useful to come here to Kempston and hear first-hand from GPs about the challenges facing primary care. 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.”
Labour has pledged to recruit 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, create 5,000 new homecare positions and 3,000 more midwives to help the NHS to cope with the demands of an aging population.
Mr Burnham added: “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.”
During the same week - on Thursday - Minister for Communities Stephen Williams visited Bedford to mark the announcement of funding for key projects in Bedfordshire, including plans for a new traffic busting road bridge.
Proposals for the Batts Ford Bridge in Bedford, which would connected Borough Hall to River Street, are one step closer thanks to a £46.7 million deal.
It has been delivered through the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership and the government’s Local Growth Deal.
The funding announcement was made at Bedford’s art gallery and museum, The Higgins.
It was also revealed that plans to create an advanced electrical design and electronics centre at Bedford College will also get a slice of the funding and money has also been earmarked for the Marston Vale Innovation Park - a 1,600 job, manufacturing and engineering base.