Labour Party conference: Wes Streeting vowing to turn NHS "on its head" with fundamental reform

Today (11 October) is the final day of the Labour Party conference.

The NHS is going to go bankrupt if it is not reformed, the Labour Party will warn today.

On the final day of the Labour Party conference, shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting is expected to call for a fundamental reform to the health service - which the Labour Party says is vital to "turn the NHS on its head". The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimates that half of all public sector workers are set to be employed by the NHS by 2036. The proportion of total departmental spending going on health is 42 per cent this year and is forecast to rise.

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In a preview of his speech, Streeting said: "Be in no doubt about the scale of the challenge. In the longer term, the challenge of rising chronic disease, combined with our ageing society, threatens to bankrupt the NHS. Pouring ever-increasing amounts of money into a system that isn’t working is wasteful in every sense.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Credit: GettyShadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Credit: Getty
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Credit: Getty | Getty

"A waste of money we don’t have. A waste of time that is running out. A waste of potential, because the NHS has so much going for it.”

“When I look at leading health systems across the world, the fundamental problem with the NHS becomes obvious: we have an NHS that gets to people too late. Labour’s reform agenda will turn the NHS on its head. From a service focused on hospitals to one providing more care in the community, analogue to digital, sickness to prevention.

“A neighbourhood health service as much as a National Health Service, pioneering cutting edge treatment and technology, preventing ill-health, not just treating it. Better for patients, less expensive for taxpayers. Achieving our mission will take time, investment, and reform. Reform is even more important than investment.”

According to the Labour Party, 7.7m patients are waiting for treatment, 390,000 of whom have been waiting for more than a year. 1.6m patients are waiting for tests and scans, with the six week waiting times target not hit since 2017. Labour has pledged to double the number of NHS scanners, buy AI scanners to diagnose patients earlier and provide two million more operations, scans, and appointments a year on evenings and weekends, with £1.1bn paid to staff in overtime .

This, they say, will all be funded by abolishing non-dom tax status, which currently allows UK residents with a permanent home abroad to not pay UK tax on foreign income.

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