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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Labour pledges 300,000+ extra NHS appointments in London

Londoners would be able to access around 300,000 additional NHS appointments, scans and operations per year under a Labour Government, the party has said.

The pledge is derived from Labour’s wider commitment to provide 40,000 extra appointments per week across England – equating to about 2,080,000 per year.

It means that London would receive around 14 per cent of those appointments, scans and operations – roughly equivalent to its population size.

Labour has also promised to double the number of scanners in hospitals, with the goal of diagnosing patients earlier. The party estimates that the extra appointments and scanners would cost £1.3 billion, and proposes to pay for them by “clamping down on tax dodgers and closing non-dom tax loopholes”.

But the Tories argue that Labour’s plans would take the country “back to square one”, pointing to the state of the NHS in Wales, where Labour are in charge of the healthcare system.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “Over 14 years, the Conservatives have taken the golden inheritance left by the last Labour government and wrecked it. Their neglect, incompetence, and underinvestment in the NHS has left millions of people waiting in pain and agony.

“Rishi Sunak has given up on the NHS. He has no plan to turn this crisis around, which he blames on doctors and nurses instead of taking any responsibility himself. Patients deserve solutions not scapegoats.”

He added: “If the Conservatives get another five years then nothing will change, the crisis in the NHS will get worse, and waiting lists will hit 10 million. The longer the Conservatives are in charge, the longer patients will wait.

“We will deliver an extra 40,000 appointments a week at evenings and weekends, the first step on our mission to beat the Tory backlog. We did it before and we will do it again.”

A Conservative spokesman said that Rishi Sunak’s Government is “investing record funding in the NHS, recruiting more doctors and nurses than ever before, and delivering the biggest expansion of the NHS workforce in its history.

“Meanwhile Keir Starmer has no plan to cut waiting lists, with the BMA warning Labour’s Doctors’ Pension Tax would force experienced doctors out of the NHS. Just look at Wales to see what happens when Labour are in power – NHS waiting lists have just reached the highest level on record and Welsh patients wait nearly seven weeks longer than in England, delaying people getting the healthcare they need and putting patients at risk. This is exactly what they would do in England, taking us back to square one.

“Only Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives are delivering a clear plan with bold action to secure the future of our NHS.”

The mention of “Labour’s Doctors’ Pension tax” is a reference to the party’s plan to reinstate the pension lifetime allowance.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt abolished the £1,073,100 limit last year, but his Labour counterpart Rachel Reeves said she would reverse the move – calling it a “tax cut for the wealthiest in society”.

Labour has insisted that the cap will be reintroduced in a “fair and reasonable way” that would ensure public service leaders, including doctors, are retained.

The general election will be held on Thursday, 4 July.

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