Sir Keir Starmer lays out Labour’s plans to get NHS ‘off its knees’

Sir Keir Starmer said an older British population is bringing ‘new challenges’ to the NHS (PA Wire)
Sir Keir Starmer said an older British population is bringing ‘new challenges’ to the NHS (PA Wire)

An older British population is bringing “new challenges” to the NHS, Sir Keir Starmer said on Monday as he laid out his plans to transform the service with science and technology.

The Labour leader pledged to get the NHS “off its knees” by tackling waiting lists and deaths from heart disease and stroke.

Among the commitments are hitting the four-hour A&E target — not achieved nationally since 2015 — cutting waiting lists and drastically improving ambulance response times by 2030.

A Labour government would also focus on improving access to mental health provisions, Sir Keir said.

“The British people are living longer,” he said. “Life expectancy in 1948 was 68, today it’s over 81.

“That’s a good thing, but it brings new challenges. The nature of disease is different. Instead of urgent and acute hospital care, now it’s more about managing chronic, long-term conditions. Mental health has stepped out from the shadows — and thank goodness.

“And with artificial intelligence. With personalised medicine. With new vaccines. We stand on the cusp of a revolution that could transform healthcare.

“My message today is this: science and technology are the game-changers. This is the prize — this is what it gives us. An NHS where prevention comes first. Where care is closer to home. Where patients have more control.”

Sir Keir used his speech in Essex on Monday morning to promise that a Labour government would hit all NHS cancer targets so patients are diagnosed and treated earlier. Data released earlier this month showed that a raft of NHS targets are currently being missed, including a key 62-day cancer target.