Current Date: 20 Apr, 2024

Keir Starmer says that for NHS to survive there must be changes

According to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, the NHS needs reform. The NHS should always be free at the point of use, he told the BBC, but the private sector can also play a role by reducing waiting lists.

Keir Starmer says that for NHS to survive there must be changes

He also suggested reducing bureaucracy by allowing individuals to self-refer for problems like back discomfort. Senior physicians have issued warnings that the NHS is in trouble and that the coming winter would be extremely taxing on its resources.

Sir Keir responded, "No, we want to look at all sorts of reform," when asked if any health sector reforms were off the table on the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show.

"I want to protect the health service, which is why I want to reform it. However, he continued that managed decline will occur unless we overhaul the healthcare system.

It must always be provided without charge at the point of use, and it must also be a public service. However, this does not imply that we cannot efficiently utilize the private sector.

The NHS is experiencing "the biggest crisis we've ever seen," according to Sir Keir. He said that a Labour administration would use the private sector more frequently. This is to help reduce the more than seven million individuals in England who are now on waiting lists for NHS care.

As for increasing the number of district nurses and doctors graduating, Sir Keir promised that his party would treble the amount. Sir Keir also pledged that his party would improve training opportunities for nurses and midwives and quadruple the number of district nurses and doctors graduating each year.

He will eventually convert family physicians into paid health system staff members. But, he wrote: "It's time for us to think about a new, sustainable structure that enables GPs to focus on treating patients rather than the paperwork that comes with successfully managing a small business.

His remarks follow Wes Streeting, Labour's shadow health secretary, who declared last month that the healthcare system was experiencing an "existential" crisis.

Reforming the NHS has been divisive politically, especially for Labour. Ideologically, some Labour MPs oppose the private sector's engagement in the healthcare system. 
However, the NHS shouldn't be "off-limits or treated as a shrine rather than a service," according to Sir Keir.

Keir said this when he recently appeared to aim for members in his party's left flank and the party's previous leadership under Jeremy Corbyn. The recommendations from Labour are presented against the winter's strains on the healthcare system and the nurses' and ambulance workers' strikes.

According to data released last week, 65% of patients in England's A&Es were seen within four hours in December, a record low. The NHS is a priority for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who also pledged to reduce waiting times earlier this month.

The government is also providing the health service with £200 million to purchase thousands of beds in nursing homes to increase the number of rooms. 

Meanwhile, it is moving forward with contentious legislation that would give ministers the authority to impose minimum service standards during strikes in sectors like the railways, the NHS, and education.

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

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