Kingston and Surbiton candidates outline their approaches to health

With the general election on Thursday, the Surrey Comet has asked all the candidates for Kingston and Surbiton for their positions on four important issues: health, the economy, Brexit and education.

These are their approaches to health.

Chris Walker, Green Party

The Green Party is fighting for an urgent cash injection to shore up the NHS and to properly fund health services, without the current wasteful fixation on privatisation.

We believe there should be far more emphasis on prevention, for example by tackling the air pollution that causes 10,000 deaths a year in London as well as asthma, heart disease and cancer.

There should also be more focus on mental health, for which funding has been cut by 50 per cent since 2013, with suicide rates now increasing for the first time in years.

Ed Davey, Liberal Democrats

My first task would be to work with local hospitals, GPs and other primary care providers to campaign for better funding for our local NHS. During my 18 years as the local MP, we secured huge investments for new health facilities in Chessington and Surbiton as well as at Kingston Hospital, but things have got significantly worse in our local NHS since the last election.

Recent underfunding of Kingston Hospital, for example, has seen waiting time targets at A&E missed, and staff feel under severe pressure. This has been made worse by Brexit, as 20 per cent of the staff come from different EU countries; there is real concern now about whether the NHS will have enough nurses and doctors over the next few years.

People report that in some local medical practices GP appointments have been harder to get recently, and there are major concerns about the pressures of the local psychiatry service.

So Liberal Democrats’ lead health policy is to put a penny in the pound on income tax to give the NHS and care services an extra £6 billion. We need to be honest and upfront that there is a cost to providing this essential investment in our health.

James Berry, Conservative Party

Nationally, we are pledging £8 billion extra funding for the NHS as well as the largest capital investment into buildings and IT the NHS has ever seen.

Locally I’ve delivered on my pledge to bring 7 day a week evening and weekend GP access to the Borough, and in April I helped secure nearly £1 million funding for Kingston Hospital’s A&E.

Graham Matthews, UKIP

The NHS crisis requires money. We will invest an extra £11billion a year into the NHS and Social Care by 2021, increase the limits on medical and nurse training places, and increase funding for mental health.

This money will come from the Foreign Aid budget, which we will reduce from 0.7 per cent to 0.2 per cent of GDP, which even after reduction is as much as Italy and Spain combined pay per year.

We think government’s first responsibility is for the health and welfare of its own citizens.

We will restore training bursaries and accommodation costs for nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare professionals, and remove the 1% cap on pay rises for frontline workers earning less than £35,000.

Chinners, Monster Raving Loony Party (taken from the party’s ‘Manicfesto’)

The alphabet will be reduced to 23 letters. We will cut the letters N, H and S.

We will ban apples in any form from hospitals to stop doctors being kept away from the NHS and all x-ray machines will be manned by a skeleton staff.

Germany will have to pay for all treatment of German measles, and Spain ditto for Spanish flu.

Laurie South, Labour Party

Labour would halt the rush towards privatisation and breaking up our NHS that the Tories are pursuing by keeping our NHS, hospitals and GPs, underfunded.

Labour will fund the NHS properly, filling the one in nine nurse vacancies by creating more training places – with bursaries – and take a similar approach to the doctor and specialist vacancies.

Mental health will be given parity of funding and resources. Adult and social care will become a national system integrated with the NHS.

Michael Basman, independent

Basic healthcare is necessary, but the NHS has become an unwieldy mega-beast with nurses and doctors worked to death, enormous management overheads and a culture which pushes drugs relentlessly onto the populace and does not give enough room for individual input on health.

There should be smaller units, and an emphasis and development of healthy lifestyles.


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