EIGHT things we learned during Ed Miliband’s visit to Warrington.
The Labour leader headed to Whittle Hall Community Centre on Monday with access to GP surgeries and the Sankey Medical Centre debacle high on residents’ agenda.
Here are some of the things we learnt during his time in the town.
1. The Labour leader said he wants to ‘end the privitastion and bureaucracy’ in the NHS which he said had been on the increase under David Cameron’s rule and instead improve access to GP surgeries.
2. After hearing complaints from residents who claimed they would often wait weeks for appointments, Ed Miliband pledged to improve access to same day consultations with GP surgeries and a guaranteed appointment within 48 hours.
3. The leader of the opposition believes improving GP services is the first step to easing pressure on hospitals as patients turn to A&E when they cannot get a doctors appointment.
4. He was ‘really shocked’ at what had happened to patients of Sankey Medical Centre.
Many were informed by the neighbouring pharmacy rather than their GP and were given just a few weeks notice the surgery was moving to Orford.
Mr Miliband added: “Hearing the experiences of residents has made me even more shocked and it doesn’t feel like they have had a proper response or an MP fighting for them and getting answers from NHS England.”
5. He added he wanted to see action after an account from one woman who described her four hour journey to the surgery in Orford after the practice on Barrow Hall Lane was closed earlier this year.
Mr Miliband added: “It’s not good enough and I’m fully behind Nick (Bent) making sure a replacement surgery is found as soon as possible.”
6. The former energy minister is also supporting Labour parliamentary candidate Nick Bent’s campaign to ‘get answers from NHS England’ and calls for health chiefs to approve a new surgery at the vacant site in Great Sankey after a nearby GP agreed to provide the service.
Mr Miliband added: “The people here today have a right to get their GP service back as quickly as possible.”
7. Residents are hoping the Labour man keeps his promises.
Sharon Parker, from Whittle Hall, told Mr Miliband she was most disgusted Sankey Medical Centre could be withdrawn at such short notice and thought the situation was ‘symptomatic of the way GPs now treat patients with disdain’.
She added: “He said it was something he would look at but I wouldn’t want to go back to the same GP now as the trust has gone.
“We will have to wait and see if speaking (to Mr Miliband) today makes a difference.”
8. Senior politicians are very rarely on time.
Residents waited more than an hour to speak to the Labour leader after his train had been delayed earlier in the day but some said the wait will be worth it if speaking to Miliband makes a difference in the future.