Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has set out his vision for the future of the NHS.
Speaking at a press conference outside an ambulance station in Essex, the leader of the opposition opened up his address with remarks about the “fundamental” nature of the NHS and how it is “one the greatest privileges of being born in Britain”.
The leader of the opposition quickly moved to affirm his party’s intention to renew the health service’s purpose and make it sustainable in the long term.
Labour will fight for the NHS, fix the NHS and reform the NHS so that it is there for you when you need it.— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) May 22, 2023
Here's how: pic.twitter.com/OOwXg3iWks
Sir Keir set out a range of goals with the first being an NHS “that is there when you need it.”
"Ambulances, seven minutes for cardiac arrest. A&E back to the four-hour target. GPs the highest satisfaction levels on record. Waiting lists down. Planned treatment within 18 weeks. No backsliding, no excuses,” he added.
The second goal centred around improving life expectancy and tackling health inequalities.
Sir Keir stated: “We will improve healthy life expectancy for all and will halve the inequality gap between different regions of England.”
The Labour leader then pledged to cut cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks and strokes by a quarter within 10 years. Sir Keir additionally committed to ensure that 75% of all cancers are diagnosed at stage one or two.
“The survival rate for cancer at stage one and two is 81%, but at stage three and four it’s just 26%,” added Sir Keir.
The MP for Holborn and St Pancras then moved onto suicide, saying: “Suicide is the biggest killer of young lives in this country, the biggest killer – that statistic should haunt us – and the rate is going up. Our mission must be, and will be, to get it down.”
“This mission starts with people, that’s at the height of the crisis right now. That’s why we’ve committed to the biggest expansion of NHS training in its history. More nurses, doctors, midwives and health visitors – all fully funded by removing the non-dom tax status.
Sir Keir also outlined how his government would enable patients to get treated at nearby hospitals if it had a shorter waiting time.
Three key “shifts” were also cited, including moving care more into the community, switching from an analogue to a digital NHS, and focussing more on prevention rather than sickness.