'Hard to keep patients safe' - scale of NHS crisis as issue dominates election talk in Yorkshire

YorkshireLive has been to sunny Scarborough to find out how important the NHS is to them in the upcoming general election.

We spoke to Chris McBride, 25, a current NHS clinical support worker, who said the NHS is a very important election issue for them. Chris explained: “I think it’s just a little bit difficult with all the understaffing and obviously working in it, it’s very difficult to keep the patients safe when we don't have the equipment we require sometimes”.

Chris added: “I understand the patients are getting frustrated but the government needs to put more money in the NHS as that’s what we need to reduce patient waiting times”.

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Chris explained their job as a clinical support worker “obviously it’s not a nurse, it’s one step down, but I see a lot of patients day in and day out and I understand their frustrations”.

“It’s upsetting seeing patients get agitated because of the fact that they’re waiting six, seven hours at a time to just be seen. We do our best but the government needs to get their finger out to be honest”.

We also spoke to one former NHS worker, Lucy Alderson, 35, originally from Halifax. Lucy explained that the NHS is a very important election issue because she used to work for them as a dentist.

Lucy explained: “I was a dentist for the NHS and now I’m a private dentist. There’s not many NHS dentists in Yorkshire, so it would be good if there were a few more”.

Lucy told us she switched to private healthcare because “the quality of life is way better and you get more time with your patients”.

We asked Lucy about the performance of the Conservatives in government. She said: “they got us through covid, but they have properly reduced trust in politics which is a bit sad I think”.

When discussing the Conservative promise of levelling up, Lucy said “it doesn't feel like we’ve been levelled up in Scarborough”. We then asked the former NHS dentist whether she thought Labour would make a better government to which she replied “yeah I think we need a change for now, I'm willing to give them a chance”.

Scarborough and Whitby is a Conservative constituency with Robert Goodwill as their last MP. So we asked more voters on Scarborough beach to tell us what good the Conservatives have done in government.

Katie Flaherty, 39, who works for Mencap as a support worker, said “Not a lot of good – I think taxes are too high. They've taken away money from services that really need it such as social care and the NHS”.

Mark Kenny, 66, from Sheffield, said “I think Rishi Sunak is a nice person but he’s very, very privileged and perhaps he doesn't realise how hard it is for some people in day to day living”. Mark explained that homelessness is a huge problem in Scarborough.

He said: “I mean just going round Scarborough last night, you see people in doorways but 20 years ago you didn't see that. A lot of them are intelligent people who have come on hard times and there doesn’t seem to be any real help for them. I don't think the Tories help in that way to be quite honest, I think a socialist government does care a little bit more”.

Ben Fores, 23, who is working as a chef, said he thought the Conservatives had done “a lot” in government but added “ I feel like there’s more that could be done”.

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YorkshireLive then asked voters whether they thought Labour would make Scarborough a better place to live.

Danny Murray, 35, who is currently on disability benefits, said “I hope so. I think they’ll pay more attention to the needs of the people. I mean I voted for the Conservatives [in the last election] but I feel let down by them to be honest.”

Alex Shaw, 30, who is currently unemployed after leaving his security job, said “that’s a bit difficult seeing Labour is the party of the working man but the leader of it is a Sir – it’s not exactly something you can affiliate with. So, no I’m not impressed with their manifesto at the moment and I’m not sure they will do anything better than the Tories quite honestly”.

He continued: "But, at the moment, who else do you vote for? There’s no good options out there”.

The current Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, Robert Goodwill, left the Commons on 30 May 2024. Voters will now head to the polls on July 4 to elect their new MP.