Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin & Harpenden, visited the Lister and Luton & Dunstable Hospitals on Friday, January 13, to meet NHS staff and hear from them about their local challenges.

At Stevenage's Lister Hospital, Mr Afolami met with the CEO of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and spent time in A&E, seeing how the hospital functions day-to-day.

Following the visits, he said: “Tackling NHS waiting times and delivering better local healthcare is something that I know is so important to constituents in Hitchin, Harpenden and the villages.

"I am still processing the many lessons that I learned, but there are some immediate takeaways.

“First, it is clear that we need more capacity in the system to deal with both short term and long-term pressures.


“Second, despite our efforts in increasing the number of doctors by 14 per cent and the number of nurses by 11 per cent over the last three years, morale is not as high as anybody would like it to be. We must redouble our efforts to engage closely with the NHS workforce, ensuring that policy remains in line with the feeling on the front line.

“Alongside all of this, I will continue my work to increase the number of available GPs and to improve access to GP services, an issue that matters to everybody in our community."

Responding to Mr Afolami's comments, Cllr Sam Collins, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden, said: "Fixing the NHS is more than just a photo opportunity with a few non-committal soundbites, it needs proper action and a proper plan.

"There is a real crisis in our healthcare system and the Conservative party only seems to make it deeper. 

"For example, almost £26,000,000 is needed to clear the hospital maintenance backlog at the Lister Hospital - meanwhile, the part of the NHS which covers hospital buildings is facing a £700 million cut.

"The chronic state of disrepair in our local hospitals is not only a scandal in itself. It is also a symptom of this Conservative government’s dire mismanagement of our NHS.

"People here have had enough of record GP, dentist and ambulance waiting times. They’ve had enough of outdated and decaying hospital equipment.

"The Conservatives should lay out a plan to recruit the staff we need and to remove these repair backlogs immediately, not just more damaging and dangerous cuts."