Keir Starmer has just announced a radical set of plans for the NHS under a future Labour Government. We all know that there are long waits to see a GP, ambulances can’t get to people in time to save lives, dangerously long queues in A&E and over 7 million on the waiting list for hospital treatment. But our health system also faces a long-term challenge. The NHS was designed for the world of 1948, where people needed short term treatment for infectious disease or injury, but now we are looking to the same system to provide more care for people with chronic long-term conditions and it is simply not set up for this.

Labour will shift services out of hospitals and into the community, so that the NHS becomes as much a Neighbourhood Health Service as it is a National Health Service. We will do this by:

  • Training more GPs and ensuring patients can easily book appointments in the manner they choose, to end the 8am scramble
  • Taking the pressure off GPs by expanding community pharmacy and cutting unnecessary red tape in referral routes
  • Bringing back the family doctor for those who benefit from seeing the same GP each time
  • Joining up health and care services in the community so patients can see a range of different health professionals all in one place
  • Boosting mental health support in the community to take the pressure off GPs and A&E and ensure people get the care they need before they reach crisis.

We will develop the workforce we need, with the modern technology to deliver the best healthcare. We will do this by:

  • Delivering one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history, doubling the number of medical school places, creating 10,000 more nursing and midwifery clinical placements each year, doubling the number of district nurses qualifying each year and training 5,000 more health visitors, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status. We will also recruit 8,500 more mental health staff paid for by closing tax loopholes exploited by private equity.
  • Working with the NHS, industry and patients to develop a strategy for the adoption of new technology into the NHS
  • Making the NHS App a one-stop shop for health information
  • Boost industry clinical trial activity in the UK, which has been in decline, by implementing a more efficient set-up process, ensuring people can sign up to participate in trials more easily and having the expanded NHS workforce to run clinical trials.

Labour will shift the focus to prevention and tackle the social inequalities that influence health. We will do this by:

  • Providing a free breakfast club in every primary school and access to sport through the curriculum in every school
  • Implementing the 9pm watershed for junk food advertising on television and ban paid-for advertising of less healthy foods on online media and banning of marketing vapes to children
  • Putting mental health support in every school and open-access mental health hubs in every community
  • Bringing in a legally-binding ‘Decent Homes Standard 2’ and retrofitting 19 million homes to keep families warm
  • Passing a Clean Air Act with stricter statutory targets on air pollution that match World Health Organisation recommendations
  • Reforming Universal Credit and making health-related benefits more flexible so that it’s easier to move from them into paid work
  • Boosting health in the workplace with a New Deal for Working People to give all workers rights from day one, including the right to sick pay which will stop illnesses spreading between workers.
  • Setting a target to end the Black maternal mortality gap.
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