How Wes Streeting could clear the NHS waiting list backlog and save money too | National Health Service

While I applaud Labour’s promise to eliminate the NHS waiting list within five years (Report, May 28), I wish shadow health secretary Wes Streeting would be a little more explicit about to the proposed use of the private sector in this task. The last Labor government – ​​which did make use of private provision – was able to reduce waiting lists, but the longer-term consequence has been the greater institutionalization of private practice by NHS staff. The deliberate downsizing of the NHS under the Conservative government has meant that privatization is now much more the norm, even for patients who can barely afford it.

The next Labor government must learn from the mistakes of the Blair/Brown era, when patients on long waiting lists found themselves, in some cases, cared for in the private sector by the same consultants who did not have time to see them in the NHS. . The NHS rewards doctors working in the private sector by giving contracts to the companies they work for to treat their patients. And they are paid at a significantly higher rate. The result is that we have a system that strips the NHS of key staff while costing considerably more to treat. We are effectively incentivizing these doctors to increase their NHS waiting lists.

Labour’s challenge is to get medical staff working part-time in the private sector to fully commit to the NHS. It will cost money, but a lot is being thrown at these private companies and could be used more effectively.
David Hinchliffe
Chairman of the House of Commons health select committee 1997-2005

You report that the Labor Party plans to eliminate NHS waiting lists by using private sector staff and creating more appointments. However, hundreds of thousands of hospital appointments are postponed or canceled because beds are occupied by patients whose discharge is delayed due to the chaotic and poor care system.

Now is the time to reform adult social care. Successive conservative administrations have shelved plans to address this issue as too difficult or too costly. David Cameron’s Dilnot commission, Theresa May’s “dementia tax” and Boris Johnson’s health and care tax proposals have been thrown into the bin.

Conscientious care workers are struggling to do their jobs well on subsistence wages, but the largely privatized adult social care system is fragmented and disorganised. It is clear that it must be returned to democratic control.

So let’s hear about Keir Starmer’s plan for a national spotlight. It has the potential to reduce waiting lists, provide better care and ultimately save money for everyone.
Norman Edwards
Highworth (Wiltshire)

Wes Streeting is right to be cautious: cutting waiting lists and reforming the NHS will take time, given the state of our public finances. But there is one thing he can do that wouldn’t cost money but would make a fundamental difference: restoring the Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide NHS services. That duty was removed by the coalition government’s Health and Social Act 2012.

Today we have the curious situation where the government funds the NHS, but the latter is not accountable to the former. In 2012, Andy Burnham, then shadow health secretary, promised to repeal the law if Labor gained power. The party should do the same in 2024.
Fawzi Ibrahim
National Officer, Rebuild Britain

Do you have an opinion on something you read in The Guardian today? Please email Send us your letter and it will be considered for publication in our letters section.

Leave a Comment