NHS Providers responds to Keir Starmer speech on the NHS

22 May 2023

Responding to the speech today by Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer on his vision for the NHS, Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive at NHS Providers said:

"Trust leaders will welcome ambitious plans for the NHS from whichever party forms the next government.

"They will agree with Labour's goal to reduce waiting times. Trusts have made remarkable progress on the longest waits for planned operations given the recent challenges. However, this goal will only be achieved if it's underpinned by adequate funding for health and care workers as well as for infrastructure.

"We know prevention and early intervention go a long way to help improve people's health and manage demand for NHS services – as proved by trusts delivering effective interventions through community diagnostic centres. Trusts will also welcome the focus on community-based services including for mental health. To boost this work, trusts desperately need more investment in staff and resources.

"Trust leaders will also welcome the emphasis on health inequalities. The NHS is committed to addressing unfair, avoidable differences in people's access to, experiences of and outcomes. It's vital that trusts' different starting points and local circumstances are recognised in a complex and challenging environment.

"We agree that digital and technology can transform healthcare for the better, but investment in both core digital infrastructure and the NHS workforce will be vital for this transition.

"What the NHS needs is sustainable, long-term investment and strategic workforce planning to help it overcome the many challenges it faces."