Future of hospital and NHS care debated by candidates

Weston General Hospital's A&E.

Weston General Hospital's A&E. - Credit: Archant

Pledges around safeguarding Weston General Hospital’s future have dominated the pledges made by the four candidates standing in this month’s General Election.

Each candidate has explained what they and their party would prioritise if voted in as Weston's MP.

John Penrose - Conservatives:

The NHS will get £33billion extra cash under Conservative plans; the most generous increase under any Government, ever.

Locally, Weston General Hospital will get bigger, treating more patients for a wider variety of problems than before.

Hospital doctors and GPs are backing a new approach which reinstates 24/7 emergency treatment in a different way from a traditional A&E; so 3am emergencies will be treated at Weston rather than Bristol or Taunton.

They say it's better than going back to a traditional A&E, which wouldn't be safe for patients.

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I'm afraid protestors demanding a traditional A&E are putting politics ahead of patient safety.

Suneil Basu - Green Party

The Green Party would reverse the stealth privatisation of the NHS we have seen through successive Tory, Liberal Democrat and Labour governments.

We would seek to break out of crippling PFI contracts.

While spending on health may have increased, more and more of those funds are being siphoned off by private contractors.

In the US model, they actually spend more per head and yet cannot provide anything close to the service for the many.

The Green's less GDP focused economic model will provide people with more time to look after their own mental and physical health, reducing the burden on the NHS.

Tim Taylor - Labour

The biggest issue locally is the continued overnight closure of Weston General Hospital's A&E.

I'm the only candidate who's campaigned consistently against this since day one and I'll continue to fight it as it causes risks to the health of local people.

We also need an urgent review of GP surgeries in Weston. Surgery closures like Stafford Place and Clarence Park have hit local people hard.

Nationally, Labour will invest in recruiting more staff to cut waiting lists and prioritise mental health services.

We'll also end car parking charges at hospitals - effectively a stealth tax on illness.

Patrick Keating - Liberal Democrats:

The Liberal Democrats will keep up the fight to reopen Weston's 24/7 A&E department and make sure the people of Weston and the villages have the healthcare services they deserve.

A Liberal Democrat Government will build a better health and care system that provides quality care for patients and respects our health workforce.

And we will transform our mental health services by treating mental health with the same urgency as physical health.

Together with the £50billion Remain Bonus, we will put a penny in the pound on Income Tax to give the NHS and social care services additional resources.