Election 2015 England

Newcastle-under-Lyme candidates call for 'joined-up' health care

The debate in Stoke
Image caption The candidates were asked questions on a range of issues put forward by listeners

Parliamentary candidates for Newcastle-under-Lyme all called for a "joined-up policy" on health and social care in north Staffordshire at a public debate.

The candidates were responding to a question about proposed changes to health care in Staffordshire at a debate run by BBC Radio Stoke.

They were asked about a consultation by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which buy health services in the area.

The consultation is looking at reducing bed-blocking and improving efficiency.

Ian Wilkes, for the Liberal Democrats, told the debate, at St George's Centre in Newcastle, health care and care in the home were not "joined-up".

"When you come out of hospital there should be care ready and waiting," he said.

Phil Wood for UKIP, said at the moment too many people in the NHS were "trying to protect their own budgets and let someone else have the problem".

He said his party would put £3bn a year in to stop "[its] creeping privatisation".

Replying, Sam Gibbons, the Green Party's candidate, claimed UKIP leader Nigel Farage had said he would like a private-style health care system.

Staffordshire 'guinea pig'

Mr Gibbons said cuts had meant managers at hospitals, including his mother who was a nurse and ward manager, still provided clinical care alongside "heavy workloads".

Labour's Paul Farrelly said the first question should be "what does the individual need?" and not "whose budget is it coming from?".

Questioned on Labour's objection to plans for the tendering of NHS cancer and end-of-life contracts across Staffordshire, he claimed the area was being used as "a guinea pig for further creeping privatisation".

Tony Cox, parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party, said his party recognised "there needs to be better integration" between health and social care but the move had been hampered by "some reluctance" from councils and some NHS departments.

"But locally this year Staffordshire County Council have this year invested another £20m into social care which is where we've realised the pressures are actually happening," he said.

David Nixon is standing as an independent a parliamentary candidate for Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The candidates for this constituency are

Conservative, Tony Cox

Labour, Paul Farrelly

Green, Sam Gibbons

Independent, David Nixon

Liberal Democrat, Ian Wilkes

UKIP, Phil Wood

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