Keir Starmer warns the NHS must ‘reform or die’ as he supports change if he takes power

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has warned the NHS must “reform or die” as he backed sweeping healthcare changes if he takes power.

The opposition leader has formally backed his shadow health minister’s reforms to effectively nationalize family doctors.

Wes Streeting’s proposals to make GPs employees of the NHS have drawn criticism from some in the medical community.

But Sir Keir wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: “Well-intentioned reverence for the ideals it (the health service) represents and the care it can provide has eclipsed reality. And that reality is simple: if we don’t take reform seriously, the NHS will die.

He later told the BBC on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that he wanted to reform the NHS to ‘preserve’ it.

The pledges are reminiscent of New Labor pledges made in 1997, when Sir Tony Blair came to power on the basis of a manifesto promising to reduce waiting times in the NHS and make the service more patient-centred.

But it leads to a potential struggle with the left of his party, with the NHS viewed by many as a sacred cow.

The opposition leader has formally backed his shadow health minister's reforms to effectively nationalize family doctors.

The opposition leader has formally backed his shadow health minister's reforms to effectively nationalize family doctors.

The opposition leader has formally backed his shadow health minister’s reforms to effectively nationalize family doctors.

He later told the BBC on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that he wanted to reform the NHS to'preserve' it.

He later told the BBC on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that he wanted to reform the NHS to'preserve' it.

He later told the BBC on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg that he wanted to reform the NHS to ‘preserve’ it.

Sir Keir used his article to outline a series of reforms that a future Labor government would introduce.

Sir Keir used his article to outline a series of reforms that a future Labor government would introduce.

Sir Keir used his article to outline a series of reforms that a future Labor government would introduce.

Sir Keir used his article to outline a series of reforms that a future Labor government would introduce.

This included removing “bureaucratic nonsense” so patients could bypass GPs and refer themselves to specialists.

He also supported the gradual “phasing in of a new system” for GPs, making GPs direct NHS staff.

The current model is for self-employed GPs to run their own practices under contracts awarded by the NHS.

But the opposition leader said it was time to accept that the system needed an overhaul as pressure on GP surgeries meant more people were going to the hospital instead.

Sir Keir suggested young doctors were not interested in taking on the “burdens and liabilities” of the current system as older GPs are leaving the workforce.

“As GPs retire and those contracts are returned, I want to phase in a new system where GPs are fairly rewarded within the NHS and work much more closely with other parts of the system,” he said.

“Not everyone is going to want to hear that — but it’s the direction we need to go.”

The comments are consistent with arguments Mr Streeting has been making in recent weeks about the need for NHS reform.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast last week, the shadow cabinet member said the “front door to the NHS was broken” and explained that “over two million people waited more than a month to see a GP in October”.

He said that “people entering general medicine are now increasingly preferring to be employed” and that by 2026 they will be the majority.

Labor’s proposals come amid winter pressures on the NHS and industrial action by nurses and ambulance workers.

Last week, figures showed the proportion of patients seen in England’s A&E within four hours fell to a record low of 65 per cent in December.

Sir Keir also said Labor will seek to free up medical professionals by eliminating “everyday inconveniences and inefficiencies” that “result in a mind-boggling waste of time”.

Such improvements, he suggested, should include those with back problems who can turn to physiotherapists themselves – a policy currently being tested by some trusts.

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/keir-starmer-warns-nhs-must-reform-or-die-as-he-backs-changes-if-he-takes-power/ Keir Starmer warns the NHS must ‘reform or die’ as he supports change if he takes power

Brian Ashcraft

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