Keir Starmer says NHS must reform after ‘12 years of mismanagement’

Ambulance workers and NHS staff to strike days before Christmas

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On Monday evening, Keir Starmer said on ITV’s Peston Show that there are “deep problems within the NHS now”. It comes after Labour’s Shadow Secretary of Health Wes Streeting said he has been “mucked around” by the NHS trying to get an appointment to confirm his kidney cancer is gone. 

The Sunday Telegraph interviewed Wes Streeting, who said he could not praise the NHS staff taking care of him highly enough, but that the current failure within the NHS is unnecessary and added the health care system was no longer “the envy of the world”. 

The health secretary said that the British Medical Association (BMA), treat him like “some sort of heretic” for pointing out the “appalling” levels of access to GPs.

This report comes as Wes Streeting and 7.2 million people are currently on NHS waiting lists with millions more currently waiting for a follow-up appointment. 

An analysis published by the Labour party last week suggested that five million Brits cannot book a GP appointment, which caused the BMA’s GP committee to accuse Labour of “demonising GPs who are trying their best to deliver care”.

When asked about Mr Streeting’s criticisms, Keir Starmer told political editor Robert Peston a reform within the NHS was needed and defended his shadow health secretary. 

He said: “I often say the NHS is on its knees, while most people working in the NHS say ‘no Keir, we’re on our face’.

“Waiting lists were too high before Covid, we’ve got staff shortages left right and centre and morale is at rock bottom. 

“So there’s the stuff we need to do to rebuild the NHS, but let’s talk about what we need to do going forward.”

The Labour leader added: “We also need to reform, we need intervention, prevention and we need to change the model. 

“Yes, we need to give the NHS the support it needs, but also with an ageing society, we’re all living longer. This is a good thing, but we need to change the model to make sure that we reform the NHS as we go forward.” 

The call for a change in the NHS comes at a time when around 100,000 nurses at 76 hospitals and health organisations from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are due to strike on Thursday over pay disputes. 

Keir Starmer told LBC earlier this week that the 19 percent pay rise the RNC are seeking was “more than can be afforded” by the Government but called on them to “resolve” the current crisis.   

Around 15,000 operations are expected to be cancelled due to the current strike action this week. 

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Keir Starmer added on Monday that the Government needed to be “responsible” and meet with union leaders. 

He said: “In the end, how is this going to end? It will end around the negotiating table. Do we do it this week before the strike or do we do it weeks and weeks down the line when so many people will have suffered because of the strike?

“I say, as a responsible Government, get off your hands, get in the negotiating room, talk this through between now and Wednesday.

“There’s a window of opportunity to resolve this issue, and a government with any sense of leadership will get in the room and resolve it.”

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