Wes Streeting has claimed Britons ‘need to hear the truth’ about the NHS as he insisted the country’s health service is ‘not the envy of the world’.
Labour’s shadow health secretary hit out at ‘waste and inefficiency’ as he slammed NHS bosses for using annual winter crises ‘as an excuse to ask for more money’.
In a signal that his party, should they win power at the general election, will not significantly boost health spending, Mr Streeting said the NHS was ‘going to have to get used to the fact that money is tight’.
He demanded ‘better value for taxpayers’ money’ from NHS funding, claiming Britons currently got ‘the worst of all worlds, which is poor outcomes alongside poor value’.
‘The NHS is a service, not a shrine,’ Mr Streeting told the Sunday Times, during his criticism of how the health service is being run.
Wes Streeting has claimed Britons ‘need to hear the truth’ about the NHS as he insisted the country’s health service is ‘not the envy of the world’
The shadow health secretary, pictured with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, hit out at ‘waste and inefficiency’ and slammed NHS bosses for using winter crises ‘to ask for more money’
Speaking to the newspaper on a visit to Singapore, the Ilford North MP vowed to ‘shake the NHS and the public out of complacency’ over healthcare if he enters government.
‘People need to hear the truth about the NHS,’ he said. ‘It is not the envy of the world, it is not delivering the quality of care that any of us want and unless it changes, it’s not going to survive.’
Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is bidding to keep a tight rein on the party’s spending commitments ahead of the general election.
And Mr Streeting suggested there would not be a huge splurge on the NHS should Labour win power.
‘I think people working in the NHS and the patients using the NHS can see examples of waste and inefficiency,’ he said.
‘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.’
Mr Streeting suggested one area in which the UK could copy Singapore was in the use of healthcare apps.
This includes rewarding citizens for exercise and diet control with points that can be spent in supermarkets and coffee shops.
‘I am really interested in exploring this approach,’ he said.
‘You can imagine what it would do for a low-income family if their brisk walks around the park several times a week to help cut obesity helps to earn them points for tickets to the cinema or a day out at a local theme park.
‘I think there’s enormous potential in that.’
But Mr Streeting’s comments about healthcare spending risked a fresh row with Labour’s Left-wing.
In response to his interview, the Momentum group said: ‘The NHS needs more cash and everyone knows it. Peddling right wing talking points doesn’t change the facts.’