From a former nurse: There are 42K nursing vacancies and recruitment is in crisis. How will your party address this?
Andrew Dunn: The SDP is committed to the NHS. We want to commit to training more nurses in this country, and to allow people to be a nurse without a degree.
Rachael Maskell: I spent 20 years working in the NHS and it breaks my heart to see it going back 20 years. It won’t just be solved by throwing money at it. We need to improve public health. Investing in education is very important. With the cuts in nursing bursaries we’ve seen a downturn in applications. We need to reverse that. We need proper workforce planning across the health service, they do it in Scotland and it works – we need to do the same in the rest of the country.
James Blanchard: I also work in the NHS. The reduction in overseas applications from the EU is crucial. It’s tied in to the cut in bursaries. We will bring in a lifelong skills wallet – money to invest in your training throughout your career. People will change career throughout their working life. There’s also a problem with GP recruitment, many are due to retire in the next few years – then try getting an appointment.
Nicholas Szkiler: With a disabled daughter I am a beneficiary of the NHS and passionately believe in it. We would reopen the nursing profession to people without a degree qualification. One millstone is the Labour initiative of the Private Finance Initiative – those schemes should be bought out. The huge interest rates being paid out on PFI could be invested in nursing bursaries.
Tom Franklin: Retention hasn’t been mentioned and that is hugely important. Allowing people to choose different ways of working might help retention. We want to abolish student fees and cancel existing student debt, which might encourage more people to study nursing.
Fabia Tate: After Brexit we can look beyond the EU to recruit nurses from elsewhere in the world, via an Australian style points system on immigration. Putting more money into the NHS to reduce the burdens on GPs and A&E is important. We need to plan to meet future demands now.
Andrew Snedden: It’s shocking that vital public services have been understaffed by tens of thousands of people. If Yorkshire had its own budget, we would have a much better chance of solving the problem.