Labour's Streeting says NHS uses winters to get more cash out of government as he vaunts Singapore

10 December 2023, 22:31 | Updated: 10 December 2023, 22:49

Mr Streeting told the Sunday Times: “I think people working in the NHS and the patients using the NHS can see examples of waste and inefficiency.
Mr Streeting told the Sunday Times: “I think people working in the NHS and the patients using the NHS can see examples of waste and inefficiency. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has accused the NHS of using crises every winter as an excuse to get more cash.

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On a visit to Singapore to explore other health systems, Mr Streeting said the NHS needs to accept that "money is tight" in the public sector and explore other ways of providing better value for the taxpayer.

Mr Streeting told the Sunday Times: “I think people working in the NHS and the patients using the NHS can see examples of waste and inefficiency.

Read More: 'Where's the ceasefire coming from?' Wes Streeting says there needs to be 'real solutions' to the Israel-Hamas conflict

“I don’t think it’s good enough that the NHS uses every winter crisis and every challenge it faces as an excuse to ask for more money.

“The NHS is going to have to get used to the fact that money is tight and it’s going to have to get used to switching spend, and rethinking where and how care is delivered to deliver better outcomes for patients and better value for taxpayers’ money.

Kings Lynn, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, NHS, Norfolk, England, UK, English hospitals, ambulance National Health Service
On a visit to Singapore to explore other health systems, Mr Streeting said the NHS needs to accept that "money is tight" in the public sector and explore other ways of providing better value for the taxpayer. Picture: Alamy

"At the moment, I think we get the worst of all worlds, which is poor outcomes alongside poor value for taxpayers."

He concluded: “I’m willing to give people more freedom to innovate and create as long as they deliver. That’s the tough love that people can look forward to if I become the health and social care secretary.”

It is the latest intervention by the shadow cabinet minister after he spoke out about the ills of NHS dentistry on LBC.

The Prime Minister is under mounting pressure over his claims about the state of dentistry, as figures reveal that the number of active NHS dentists in England is at its lowest level in a decade.

One Year Of Covid For The NHS And Key Workers
It is the latest intervention by the shadow cabinet minister after he spoke out about the ills of NHS dentistry on LBC. Picture: Getty

Millions of people have been left unable to book checkups or have toothaches fixed, with many turning to homemade efforts to fix ongoing pain.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting hosted James O'Brien's slot as part of 'guest host week' and began by addressing the crippling dentistry crisis the UK's facing.

Wes described how Labour would implement a "dentistry package" that would comprise "700,000 extra appointments a year" the "targeted recruitment of dentists into areas with shortages" and "the supervised toothbrushing program".

Their proposal costs "£111 million a year" and would be funded by "abolishing the non-Dom tax status" asserted Wes.

An increasing number of dental surgeries do not offer NHS-funded work, with the British Dental Association highlighting that a £3bn dental budget has failed to keep up with inflation and population growth over the past 10 years.

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