This website is intended for healthcare professionals


Labour’s emphasis on primary and community care welcomed

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, has been praised by health organisations such as the King’s Fund, after he highlighted the importance of primary and community care in his speech to the Labour Party’s 2023 Conference

Addressing the audience of the conference in Liverpool, Mr Streeting said:

‘There is nothing wrong with the NHS that can’t be cured by what’s right with the NHS. In Sussex, GPs work together providing specialist and urgent care in the community, allowing patients to see their regular family doctor, and giving them greater control over their own care. They’re preventing 4,000 patients from having to go to hospital every year. Primary care will be at the heart of Labour’s plan for the NHS – we’ll train thousands more GPs and cut the red tape that ties up their time.’

Reacting to the announcement, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund said: ‘A greater emphasis on primary and community services has the potential to catch illness earlier and provide patients with more options beyond having to turn up at over-stretched hospitals. This refocusing towards community services has been a political ambition for decades, yet the rhetoric has not translated to reality. Making good on the commitment to bolster community services will mean grappling with knotty issues like making careers in community services more attractive, improving outdated GP and community health buildings, and shifting the balance of investment away from hospital toward community services.’

'If our NHS is to be the envy of the world again, with quality social care to match – they each need both investment and reform,'

Royal College of Nursing Chief Nurse, Professor Nicola Ranger, said:  

'High quality social care, delivered by professionals who are fairly rewarded and well trained, is what we all want in later life, or times of need. By raising standards in social care, a Labour government would save NHS resources and improve health services. Today’s care system too often fails our older and most in need groups and is poor value for money – addressing this is the reform that is urgently needed.'  

'Any future government will not get record patient waiting lists down whilst the NHS is short of tens of thousands of nursing staff. What nursing staff need to see is reform of services with greater emphasis on prevention, their pay and improved patient care.