Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said that the Veterans Affairs controversy proved VA hospitals didn't have enough doctors and staff to meet the medical needs of military members.

“What is very clear to everybody right now is that in many parts of the country, the VA simply did not have the doctors and the staff to make sure the veterans got timely care," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." “But we need to make sure that that never happens again.”

Republicans say the immediate focus should be on cooked books, backlogs for disability claims and phony waiting lists at VA facilities. And they note that the recent problems at the VA come despite an uptick in funding for the military hospitals.

For his part, Sanders said the issue was more about the waiting lists than the medical care itself.

If you “look at independent surveys, the truth is that when people get into the VA, the quality of care is good,” Sanders told CBS. “The problem that we have to address is access to the system and waiting lines.”

And he said lawmakers would need to explore putting more doctors in VA hospitals.

“But longer term, what we have to do within the VA is to make sure that they have the primary care physicians, the nurses, and the staffing they need to provide the quality of care that our veterans deserve in a timely manner,” he added.