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Wes Streeting named first Labour health secretary for 14 years

Wes Streeting named first Labour health secretary for 14 years

Wes Streeting has been appointed health secretary under the new Labour Government, following the party’s landslide win in the general election yesterday.

The MP for Ilford North only very narrowly held on to his parliamentary seat, with an independent candidate standing on a pro-Gaza platform just 500 votes behind.

He was named shadow secretary of state for health and social care in 2021, taking over from Jonathan Ashworth, who lost his seat yesterday to another pro-Palestine independent.

Before this, Mr Streeting served as shadow secretary for child poverty and as shadow minister for schools.

He takes over leadership of the Department of Health and Social Care from Conservative MP Victoria Atkins, who had served since November 2023 following a string of new health secretaries over the last three years.

Andy Burnham, who now serves as Mayor of Greater Manchester, was the last Labour politician to hold this Cabinet position, from 2009 to 2010.

Mr Streeting has recently promised that general practice ‘has a lot to look forward to’ under a Labour Government, but has revealed few concrete policies for primary care.

Labour’s election manifesto pledged to ‘reform’ primary care, trialling ‘neighbourhood health centres’ which would have GPs and other community health staff ‘under one roof’.

The manifesto carried no immediate promises of increased investment in general practice but said the party will ‘return the family doctor’, and will shift more money to primary care over time.

The new health secretary has also pledged to review the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) and cut GP bureaucracy under a Labour Government.

Many doctor leaders have called for GPs to be included in the ARRS, as currently it gives a ‘perverse incentive’ for PCNs to hire less-qualified healthcare professionals instead of GPs.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

David Church 5 July, 2024 6:08 pm

Dare one wonder how much of the vote Mr Streeting would have won if he had taken the brave but correct position of openly opposing war in Palestine; and of openly opposing further privatisation of our beloved NHS as well ? Might he have combined the two largest vote groups in his constituency, for a start ?

So the bird flew away 5 July, 2024 7:30 pm

Hear hear, David Church.

A B 8 July, 2024 8:59 am

Baa humbug

Dave Haddock 8 July, 2024 8:02 pm

Difficult to be optimistic.
Health was devolved to the Nations, which has meant Labour in Wales, where they have managed to make the NHS even worse than in England despite higher levels of funding – higher GP vacancy rates, longer waits, lower GP income.