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21  April

COLUMN: NHS satisfaction at an all-time low

31/03/2024 @ 10:23


In his column for MyTown Media, Liberal Democrat candidate for Montgomeryshire & Glyndwr, Glyn Preston, addresses the issues we all face when it comes to health care.

“I was shocked, but not surprised, to learn this week that public satisfaction with NHS has fallen to a new low. Down from 70% of people satisfied with NHS services in 2010 to only 23% now.

It’s clear though that it’s not the idea of the NHS that people have lost faith in, it’s that it’s becoming harder and harder to get the treatment you need when you need it.

Here in Montgomeryshire we get the worst of both the Welsh and English NHS. When we phone for an ambulance, we get the worst average response times in Wales.

If the ambulance takes us to Shrewsbury, it’s an English hospital where the number of us who will then wait more than four hours for treatment has shot up by 50%.

Our local GP services are struggling to recruit staff. An NHS dentist is as rare as hen’s teeth, and waiting lists for surgery mean people are left in pain and discomfort for months.

Time after time as I meet people across Montgomeryshire, it’s the health service that people want to talk to me about.

In the upcoming General Election, it will be the number one issue, alongside the cost of living, that people will be thinking about when they go to vote. People love the idea of the NHS, its core guiding principle of a health service free at the point of use, but they see that the idea is being undermined by years of Conservative neglect.

You would imagine that Montgomeryshire’s Conservative MP might have something to say about it, or the Conservative Senedd member, who happens to be his party’s spokesman on health in Wales, but they could not find a square inch to give to NHS-run care services in their recent 12-page paper.

We need to recruit more doctors, so that people can see a doctor promptly. We need an emergency investment in our ambulance services, to tackle the slow response times, particularly as the air ambulance moves away, and we need to fill over 100,000 staff vacancies in England and Wales to ensure that waiting times come down. We also need to put mental health on the same footing as physical health and to invest in public health and prevention to keep people healthy for longer.

For years now, Liberal Democrats have been championing the idea of a health hub in our area providing a whole range of health services to cut the need to travel outside our area. It will ensure better care is closer to hand, and reduce the pressure on hospitals outside our area that are already under pressure.

Montgomeryshire needs an MP who will be a champion for our NHS, working with services in both England and Wales to get a better deal that will give people a service they can rely on. It’s time to end the neglect of our NHS.”