Rising chronic illnesses and an ageing population are threatening to bankrupt the National Health Service, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said on October 11.
Streeting announced a substantial £1.1 billion injection to strengthen the NHS with the goal of clearing the backlog and introducing additional clinics on evenings and weekends.
The frontbencher outlined a reform agenda to ensure NHS is back on its head for the future of healthcare in the UK.
Streeting said that a Labour government will not waste “money we don’t have”- instead aims to revolutionise the NHS by shifting its focus from hospitals to communities.
“Our emphasis is on transitioning from an analogue to a digital framework and prioritising prevention over sickness-oriented healthcare,” he noted.
Labour aims to deliver two million more appointments annually, thereby providing faster treatment for patients with extra pay for staff.
He addresses it as the “first step to cut waiting lists and beat the Tory backlog”.
The Labour leader says that the neighbourhood health service will adopt “pioneering cutting edge treatment and technology, preventing ill-health, not just treating it” as much as NHS.
Streeting emphasised that their mission is to restore the NHS to its full capacity for the future.
“Achieving our mission will take time, investment, and reform. Reform is even more important than investment.
“Because pouring ever-increasing amounts of money into a system that isn’t working is wasteful in every sense,” he added.
The Party’s vision for the future
The frontbencher MP unveiled a transformative New Deal for Care Workers, addressing areas such as recruitment, retention, and equitable compensation.
This initiative represents the initial stride in Labour’s ambitious ten-year plan to establish a National Care Service.
He said, “A workforce plan to address recruitment and retention, the professional status these remarkable people deserve, and the first ever Fair Pay Agreement for care professionals.
“The first step on our ten-year plan for a National Care Service. One of the biggest opportunities we have is the revolution taking place in medical science and technology,” he added.
Streeting envisions a future for the GPs in the country where they “work together providing specialist and urgent care in the community, allowing patients to see their regular family doctor, and giving them greater control over their own care.”
He promises that primary care will be at the “heart of Labour’s plan” for the NHS where thousands more GPs will be trained.
“Labour will bring back the family doctor.”
Moreover, he says that in Sussex, GPs are “preventing 4,000 patients from having to go to hospital every year.”
He addressed how schools in Bury are working tirelessly with NHS to deliver support, “The number of children requiring mental health services has been cut in half.
“Every child struggling with their mental health should get the help they need. Labour will put mental health support in every school and hubs in every community, paid for by abolishing tax breaks for private schools.”
Streeting further spoke about the potential of medical science and technology to revolutionise healthcare.
He pointed out that the UK is at the forefront of life sciences and technological entrepreneurship, like Moorfields Eye Hospital where “artificial intelligence identifies signs of disease on scans, with an accuracy equal to world-leading experts.
“They spot conditions earlier and prioritise patients with the most serious diseases before irreversible damage sets in,” he further added.
Streeting said that Labour will “arm the NHS with state-of-the-art equipment and new technology to cut waiting times Our ‘Fit For The Future Fund’ will double the number of scanners in the NHS, so patients are diagnosed earlier, and treated faster.
“More than that – breakthroughs in genomics and AI mean that we’ll soon be able to predict and prevent illness in the first place.”
In his speech, he also spoke about the future of children in the country and pledged to combat issues like childhood obesity and mental health through a series of targeted interventions.
“We will ban junk food ads targeted at children. Bridget’s breakfast clubs will provide every primary school pupil with a healthy, nutritious start to the day, making sure they have hungry minds, not hungry bellies.
“We’ll introduce supervised toothbrushing to keep kids’ teeth clean and keep them out of hospital.”
He also issued a stern warning to those in the vaping industry through a ban on selling cigarettes to kids.
Streeting pledged an additional 700,000 dental appointments annually by “two million more appointments a year to cut waiting lists”.
“The biggest expansion of NHS staff in history.”
On October. 4, Streeting served as the chief guest at the 23rd annual Pharmacy Business Awards held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.