Labour will not be pushed around by British Medical Association, says Shadow Health Secretary

13 December 2022, 17:29

Wes Streeting: 'The BMA does doctors a disservice'

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting says the BMA has “attacked” Labour and “criticised” their policies and ideas for the NHS, calling their actions “frustrating”.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has said Labour is “not going to be pushed around by the BMA” after he deemed its criticism of the party’s policies an “attack”.

Shelagh Fogarty said: “You said speaking to Andrew Marr yesterday that you and Labour are cross with the BMA over comments they've made on Labour’s position.

“What did they say that was so annoying to you?”

The Shadow Health Secretary replied: “Well, we announced the biggest expansion of NHS staff in history.

“We would double the number of medical school places, increase nursing and midwifery clinical training places by 10,000, 5000 more health visitors, doubling the number of district nurses.

“We’d pay for that by abolishing the non-dom status, so we’ve shown how we’d pay for it, so people can have confidence we’ll be able to do it.

“As we’re putting more staff in, we’ve got to see improvements in standards for patients” he explained, saying “on a number of occasions now, the British Medical Association has attacked Labour on that front."

“Attacked?” Shelagh asked, surprised.

“[They have] criticised our policies, basically said our policies aren’t reasonable, being very defensive”, the Secretary of State explained.

Wes Streeting says 'Labour won't make promises they can't keep'

Mr Streeting added: “There was one story we put out that attacked the Conservatives for cutting the number of GPs, and the BMA put out a statement which I thought attacked Labour.”

He felt that in doing so, the doctor’s association had “completely missed the point” and could not “quite understand why the BMA spoils for a fight in this way”.

“I've been clear - we’re not going to be pushed around by the BMA”, he said firmly.

READ MORE: Labour shadow health secretary Wes Streeting doubles down on claim doctors' union is 'obstacle' to reform in NHS

Mr Streeting shared figures from the London School of Economics and University of Warwick saying they believe the abolition of the non-dom status “would generate over £3bn”.

“Our NHS expansion would cost £1.6bn so we can be really confident that we can pay for it", he said.

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