Streeting & Labour still don’t understand how the NHS works

  • Post last modified:May 19, 2024
  • Reading time:11 mins read

It’s fair to say the Tories have made an absolute mess of the NHS. However, given that the Labour Party founded our National Health Service, you’d think they’d better know how to manage it. But if you listen to shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, it seems like he doesn’t even know how it works.

That or he exists solely to transfer money into the pockets of private health ghouls:

Doctors losing patience with Streeting

Streeting’s latest appearance has drawn criticism from doctors like Syed Siddiqi:

Labour sympathisers might say Siddiqi’s tweet actually supports Streeting’s position. After all, Siddiqi only spent “the bulk of that time working on a Sunday”; this proves he had some Sundays off. Obviously if these lazy health workers were truly committed towards making the government look competent, they’d be working every hour they could.

People less sympathetic might argue that forcing already overstretched medical professionals to work more hours will undoubtedly lead to worse services. As campaign group Fund Our NHS reported (emphasis added):

A new survey by UNISON, the UK’s biggest health trade union, reveals that three quarters of NHS workers said there isn’t enough staff in their ward or team and that almost two thirds (63%) are worried about patient safety as a result.

The online survey of 3,380 UNISON members reveals how workers are working harder and longer hours for free to make up for the staff shortages. Nearly two thirds (64%) of NHS staff work overtime and almost three in five (58%) said their workload has increased.

It also reveals that 70% of them are not paid when they work over their shift, two thirds rarely leave work on time and half (49%) are not able to take breaks because of their workload.

More than three quarters (77%) said they are not at all satisfied with their pay and seven in ten don’t feel valued by their employers despite the extra effort and goodwill NHS workers bring to the service.

A staggering four in five (83%) NHS workers said they have to work more for less money and more than seven in ten (71%) said they had a poor work life balance.

Seemingly, Streeting and Labour’s position is that actually:

  • We’re not overstretching workers enough.
  • Conditions on wards are too safe.
  • Doctors are only complaining because they have minutes free time each week in which to complain.

Labour: in private healthcare’s pocket

Streeting’s support for privatisation is well-known, but it isn’t well thought out (not if the end goal is a functioning health service, anyway):

According to the National in 2023:

LABOUR shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has continued to accept tens of thousands of pounds from donors with links to private healthcare while advocating for the NHS to pay private firms for use of their resources, the Sunday National can reveal.

Earlier this week, Streeting attracted criticism from Scottish politicians and Labour’s left after writing in an article for The Sun that he would fight the “middle-class lefties” who oppose expanding the NHS’s use of private health providers.

His register of interests shows that the intervention came after he accepted donations totalling around £175,000 from two donors with links to private healthcare firms.


If you gave us that much, we’d say whatever you liked. We’d even go so far as to claim Streeting doesn’t look like an overgrown 14-year-old in his dad’s suit – the most barefaced lie we can imagine.

No answers

It will be interesting to see how Streeting fares in the upcoming election campaign when the pressure ramps up. As people have noted, he doesn’t have much confidence in his position (which, to be fair, he shouldn’t):

One answer he doesn’t have is actually the most obvious – namely where the money should come from:

It basically is as simple as taxing the rich. After all, it’s clear that’s where all the money went.

While most of us have been getting poorer, a 2022 report from the Equality Trust notes billionaires have been getting richer and richer:

This wealth growth has far exceeded inflation – especially in recent years – as reported by the Guardian:

Highlighting a dramatic increase in inequality since the Covid pandemic, Oxfam said the world’s billionaires were $3.3tn (£2.6tn) richer than in 2020, and their wealth had grown three times faster than the rate of inflation.

The Equality Trust report further explains:

Since the 1980s, wealth inequality in the UK and many other developed nations has risen considerably, reversing a general trend towards greater equality which had existed since the early 1900s.

This means that since Margaret Thatcher we’ve been devolving back towards 1900s-style inequality. Interestingly, Streeting’s boss Keir Starmer attracted criticism last year for saying Thatcher brought “meaningful change” to Britain. While this is demonstrably true, Starmer was suggesting the changes were a good thing. In reality, they’ve proven disastrous, as the Equality Trust report notes:

More unequal societies… experience poorer social, economic and health outcomes than more equal ones.

It’s suggestions for fixing this mess include:

  1. Institute a progressive wealth tax aimed at a more even distribution of wealth.
  2. Reform the financial sector to promote longer term and responsible corporate investment and to end speculative and unstable financial activities.
  3. End the UK’s role in tax avoidance and increase transparency.
  4. Democratise corporations by ending shareholder primacy, facilitating employee ownership and rolling out sectoral collective bargaining.
  5. Return essential services to public ownership to ensure that basic necessities are provided at reasonable prices.
  6. Adopt a community wealth-building approach to address regional inequalities.

Labour’s suggestion for fixing our battered infrastructure is to abolish free time for public servants.

Get Streeting out

To put it mildly, Streeting is an oily, little Blairite shit who will prove more harmful to the NHS than the MRSA virus.

Given this, it’s no wonder people wish to ‘unseat’ him in the upcoming election:

The push for an independent to beat Streeting in the election is real; let’s hope they can manage a Galloway-style upset.

Given this extra pressure put on him, can we assume that Streeting will be working weekends for the foreseeable future?

Featured image via BBC

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