James MacCleary, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Lewes, has called on local Conservative MP and health minister, Maria Caulfield, to back an amendment in Parliament this week calling for a GP and dental care rescue plan.
It comes ahead of a series of crunch votes on the King's Speech in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday 15 November).
The Liberal Democrat amendment would give a patient a legal right to see their GP within a week, and 24 hours if in urgent need. It also calls on the government to publish a dental recovery plan as promised seven months after a shocking rise in the number of ‘dental deserts’ leaving people struggling to see an NHS dentist when they need to.
Other measures in the amendment include ensuring the Conservative manifesto pledge of building 40 new hospitals is met, with many currently facing delays and not receiving adequate funding.
James MacCleary has said that if Ms Caulfield does not back the amendment it would show a “callous disregard for those in Seaford, Polegate, Lewes, Newhaven, Willingdon and surrounding villages stuck on NHS waiting lists”.
James MacCleary said: “Maria Caulfield's Conservative government has brought our local health services to their knees. Everyday, people in our area are struggling to get a GP appointment or cannot find a dentist taking NHS patients. As a government health minister, Ms Caulfield has sat by while our health service falls apart.
“With an election almost certain in the next twelve months it is very conspicuous that health ministers like Ms Caulfield want to talk about anything but the NHS. Perhaps that isn't surprising after her broken promise to build a new hospital in Eastbourne and spiralling waiting times for treatment.
"Real action on the NHS was missing from the King’s Speech. Maria Caulfield needs to back the Liberal Democrat amendment to it and ensure that local health services are put front and centre of the government’s agenda.
“Anything less would show a callous disregard for those in Seaford, Polegate, Lewes, Newhaven, Willingdon and surrounding villages stuck on NHS waiting lists, unable to get the treatment that they need.”
The Liberal Democrat amendment to the King’s Speech can be found here (amendment n).