Starmer’s ‘monumentally stupid’ NHS plans enrage medical community

Keir Starmer says nurses strike is ‘badge of shame’ for Tories

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The Labour leader outlined his views on the health service in the Sunday Telegraph and on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme. Sir Keir attempted to encourage voters to back his party by insisting that he would tackle “bureaucratic nonsense” in the NHS.

The MP for Holborn and St Pancras warned that “if we don’t get real about reform, the NHS will die”, adding that the system organising GP visits “isn’t working”.

The Labour leader tweeted: “Labour will reform the NHS: Self referrals for patients. Double the number of graduating doctors and district nurses.

“Increase training places for nurses and midwives. Free up GPs to focus on patients.

“With Labour, patients will get the service they need.”

The comments have sparked huge backlash with members of the medical community who called his policies “monumentally stupid”.

Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke tweeted: “@Keir_Starmer just dismissed GP triage of patients’ presentations as ‘bureaucratic nonsense’, suggesting we all self-refer to specialist if we notice an issue.

Another Twitter user added: “For the love of god @Keir_Starmer @wesstreeting please talk to current medics before you make up poorly thought out health policy on the fly.”

A key issue for many was Sir Keir’s suggestion that people with internal bleeding would be able to complete a self-referral which will “cost lives”.

The Labour leader criticised the failure of the NHS by the last 13 years of the Tory Party and he noted to Ms Kuenssberg that under the previous Labour Government, investment in the NHS was up, nurses had fair pay, and waiting lists were down.

A spokesperson for the Socialist Health Association (SHA) said: “Keir Starmer is right that the Tory-damaged NHS is in urgent need of repair, but his solutions are all wrong…The Labour leadership is offering bromides and dangerous false solutions.

“For Keir Starmer to advocate self-referrals for internal bleeding is a recipe for disaster that will waste resources and cost lives.”

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The Labour leader told the Sunday Telegraph that the country must begin to address options for a new system which is efficient and can allow GPs to prioritise patients over admin.

He added: “We also need to be ruthless with the bureaucratic nonsense you encounter every day in the health service.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made reducing NHS waiting lists one of his key five pledges to voters.

However, Sunak is facing a gargantuan task as the NHS faces its most severe winter amid strikes over pay and working conditions, large backlogs and long ambulance and GP waiting times.

Starmer hopes that the policies he outlined on Sunday will see Labour be more “bold and courageous”.

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