The shadow health minister has pledged to support Blackpool by securing more money to help treat people who fall ill in the resort.
Andy Burnham sat down with residents in a Layton cafe yesterday to discuss what they felt were the most important aspects of health care in the town.
Among long wait times at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and failures in social care, he heard about how medical staff were working hard to treat people who have moved to the area once they had retired but had no government help to provide health care.
Speaking after the event at Sue’s Curiosi-tea and Coffee Shop on Layton Road, Mr Burnham said: “The main reason for coming here was to listen to people about their thoughts on the heath service.
“There was talk about waiting times and how it’s harder to get a GP appointment. This proves that the walk in centre Labour put in, which is on Whitegate Drive, was right, and has been a real lifeline to people.
“I am very proud of that as I came to open the service.”
As well as residents and people who work in the NHS, Mr Burnham heard from Kathryn Benson who works with Blackpool Council and social workers to provide care for people with learning disabilities.
She said: “Blackpool has suffered terribly with cuts, largely in care of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
“We need assurances that Blackpool will be made a special case. We have a high number of people who have visited on holiday and loved it so much they moved here, and now we have a duty of care to them.”
Mr Burnham said he agreed work needed to be done to make sure health funding decisions took into account an area’s depravation as well as the general age of its population.
The shadow minister had been invited to the resort by Blackpool North and Cleveleys Parliamentary candidate Sam Rushworth.
He said: “People are concerned that 1,300 nursing jobs have been cut in the North West, and a lot of NHS workers are telling us that they feel stretched to breaking point. “From the public’s point of view we do have a good service in Blackpool, but it’s clear that there is work to be done to make it better.
“Having Andy Burnham here has been really good for us, and I’m really pleased he came.”