Wes Streeting says Labour has been too nostalgic about NHS as he argues it needs reform not extra money – UK politics live | Politics

11.07 CET

Streeting claims NHS could save billions by eliminating wasteful spending

In his Sun interview today Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, is argues that the NHS needs reform more than it needs extra money. (See 9.26am.) One (seemingly obvious and easy) reform would be to waste less, and in the overnight preview of his speech Labour identifies “waste” in the NHS worth billions of pounds that it suggests could be eliminated. It cites these five examples.

£1.7 billion cost of hospital beds for patients who are well enough to leave, but can’t because there is no care available in the community

£3.5 billion paid to recruitment agencies because the Conservatives have failed to train enough staff over the last 14 years

£626 million spent by the Department of Health and Social Care on management consultants

£32 million value of the pagers NHS staff are still forced to use

£1 billion of savings the NHS itself says is available through bulk-buying equipment at a cheaper rate. Currently some hospitals pay twice as much as others for equipment like scanners and surgical tools.

Streeting says:

With a government that understands the value of public money, that is brave enough to reform the NHS, that knows prevention is better than cure, the crisis in the health service can be turned around.

I am focusing on waste because I want to give the public hope that the NHS can be saved. The money that is wasted today can be used to get the NHS back on its feet tomorrow. Only Labour has a plan to reform the NHS.

In his Sun interview Streeting also claims that the NHS could save money and become more efficient by embracing technology properly. He says:

This morning DPD text-messaged to tell me this parcel was being delivered, they gave my slot and gave me the opportunity to change it.

Why is it that with the NHS you can’t turn around and say, ‘Actually, that isn’t convenient, I need to change it?’ Or you think, ‘Oh, shit, I forgot about that’.

It’s just those basic things, that basic organisation of the system. And this is not revolutionary technology.

Updated at 11.07 CET

10.54 CET

David Cameron, the foreign secretary, has urged peers to back the government’s Rwanda bill after the House of Lords last night voted for a motion intended to delay its implementation.

As Rajeev Syal reports, peers voted for a motion saying ratification of the UK-Rwanda treaty, that underpins the Rwanda bill going through parliament, should be delayed until Rwanda has shown that it has enacted the legal reforms set out in the treaty intended to show it is a safe country for asylum seekers.

The vote will not stop the government ratifying the treaty, but it may make it harder for the government to fight off legal challenges to the policy in the courts.

Cameron, who sits in the Lords, said in response:

What the government will do is, having passed the bill through the House of Commons, bring the bill to the House of Lords, and I’ll be urging fellow peers in the House of Lords to vote for that bill because it’s absolutely essential that we stop the boats and that we fulfil the prime minister’s plan.

It’s not acceptable to have people travelling from a perfectly safe country – France – to another safe country – Britain – and to be able to stay, and that’s what the Rwanda plan is all about and why I urge the House of Lords to pass this bill.

As the division list shows, only one Conservative peer, the Earl of Dundee, voted with the opposition parties and crossbenchers for the motion saying treaty ratification should be delayed.

David Cameron, the foreign secretary, (right) arriving for cabinet today with his deputy, Andrew Mitchell, the development minister.
Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Updated at 11.01 CET

10.39 CET

Fresh US/UK airstrikes ‘send clear message’ to Houthis, says Cameron

A fresh set of US and UK airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen were intended to “send the clearest possible message that Britain backs its words and our warnings with action”, David Cameron, the foreign secretary, has said. Ben Quinn has the story.

Updated at 10.39 CET

10.36 CET

Wes Streeting says Labour has been too nostalgic about NHS as he argues it needs reform not extra money

Good morning. Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, is the main speaker at a conference organised by the Institute for Government thinktank today and, according to the overnight briefing, his speech will be an attack on “waste” in the NHS, and a declaration that Labour will make it more efficient. This is a relatively standard opposition party theme. The Conservatives used to say much the same when Labour was in power. But Streeting has also given an interview to the Sun to promote his message, and this will attract more attention because he has used it to accuse his own party of being too nostalgic about the NHS.

He told the paper:

I think there are times when the Labour party is led too heavily into nostalgia. It would be the easiest thing in the world to go into the next general election just saying ‘worst crisis in NHS history’, ‘you can’t trust the Tories on the NHS’, ‘you’ve got 24 hours to save the NHS’ and, by the way, here’s a nice sepia film of Nye Bevan.

When the Sun’s Harry Cole put it to Streeting that that was exactly how Labour campaigned on the NHS in elections, Streeting replied:

Well, we haven’t done very well in the last four, so I’m not planning to repeat those mistakes.

Streeting also restated an argument that he has previously made as shadow health secretary, saying that what the NHS needed most was reform, not extra money.

You can’t just keep on pouring ever-increasing amounts of money into a leaky bucket, you’ve got to deal with the bucket itself.

And on the topic of NHS funding, he told the Sun:

It’s not right to keep on asking people on low to middle incomes to pay high taxes when they’re struggling. And it’s not right that they don’t get much for the money they are putting in.

I will post more from the interview and speech shortly.

Otherwise, we have cabinet today, and we are expecting a Commons statement from Rishi Sunak on the latest air strikes against the Houthis. There is full coverage of those on our Middle East crisis live blog.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.15am: Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, gives a speech at the Institute for Government’s annual conference. Other participants include Kwasi Kwarteng, the Tory former chancellor, who is speaking on a panel, and John Glen, the Cabinet Office minister, who is giving a speech. The full agenda is here.

Morning: Rishi Sunak chairs cabinet.

11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.

11.30am: Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

After 12.30pm: Rishi Sunak is expected to make a statement to MPs about the latest air strike against the Houthis.

After 1.30pm: MPs debate a Labour opposition day motion which, if passed, would set aside a day for the Commons to debate and pass a Labour bill on school absences that would force the government to set up a national register of children not in school.

If you want to contact me, do try the “send us a message” feature. You’ll see it just below the byline – on the left of the screen, if you are reading on a laptop or a desktop. This is for people who want to message me directly. I find it very useful when people message to point out errors (even typos – no mistake is too small to correct). Often I find your questions very interesting, too. I can’t promise to reply to them all, but I will try to reply to as many as I can, either in the comments below the line; privately (if you leave an email address and that seems more appropriate); or in the main blog, if I think it is a topic of wide interest.

Updated at 10.57 CET

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