SHADOW care minister Liz Kendall outlined Labour’s plans to employ and train more doctors and reduce waiting times during a visit to Dudley.

She joined the party's Parliamentary candidate for Dudley North Ian Austin at Eve Hill Medical Practice, Himley Road, on April 23 to speak to patients and staff.

Official figures show that thousands of patients in Dudley have had to wait a week or more to see their GP in the last year and Miss Kendall said the party hope to make such waits a thing of the past by making a commitment to invest in 8,000 more GPs, boost the number of NHS staff trained in Britain and guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours.

She also addressed the recent announcement that one in ten of Russells Hall Hospital’s 4,200 staff would lose their jobs as a result of government rules that cut spending by £12 million every year, adding: “This government is putting the NHS under massive pressure. Here in Dudley the local hospital is losing one in ten staff and thousands of patients are waiting a week or more to see their GP.

“That’s why we need a Labour government to tackle this NHS crisis by investing an extra £2.5 billion in 20,000 new nurses and 8,000 new doctors.”

Mr Austin, who has been campaigning to prevent the job losses, said: “Like any other local family, we queue up at Russells Hall and local surgeries when we’re ill. Everyone knows the pressure that the local NHS is under.

“Local people are really worried about what will happen if Russells Hall Hospital has to lose one in ten staff, and we have it black and white from hospital bosses that these cuts threaten patient care.

“Fighting for more resources for our local NHS is one of my top priorities because we need more doctors and nurses, shorter waiting times for appointments and treatment and a government that takes action to support frontline staff in places like Dudley.”