The NHS Under a Labour Government: What Can Healthcare Professionals Expect to See

1 July  •  NHS
The NHS Under a Labour Government: What Can Healthcare Professionals Expect to See

With the prospect of a Labour Government coming into power looking very likely, many are wondering what this new political landscape will bring the UK. One of the main areas that Labour has targeted in its manifesto is the Healthcare industry, with big promises being made about funding, upgrading and revitalising the NHS. So, in this article, we’ll look at what the NHS under a Labour Government might look like and what healthcare professionals could expect to see over the coming years.

Community Care and Preventing Illness With Technological Investment

The NHS has been dealing with a severe backlog in patient waiting times while under the Conservatives, so this is going to be a big challenge for the Labour Party to overcome. One way they aim to tackle this is by transitioning away from hospitals and pivoting towards community healthcare. Labour wants to place a stronger focus on community pharmacies and reintroduce family doctors, which should make it easier to book GP appointments in a way that suits patients.

Another key change involves moving away from treating illness and instead focusing on preventing it. Labour wants to make sure that children have a solid foundation for a healthy life by establishing breakfast clubs in primary schools at no cost to parents. There will also be a big push to eradicate unhealthy junk food advertising that targets children. One of the major ways Labour intends to push the NHS forward is through technological investment. Using artificial intelligence to help with things like interpreting X-rays should speed up patient diagnoses and optimise how staff are being utilised. Alongside this investment, the Labour Party is planning to expand NHS staff by training thousands of new doctors and nurses across the UK.

Building an NHS Fit for the Future

One of the main pledges found in the Labour manifesto is to build an NHS fit for the future, which means significant investment across the board. This will be achieved, at least in part, by reforming primary care by supporting community-based healthcare services and reducing the strain on hospitals. They are pledging to train more GPs to alleviate the current strain on healthcare staff while also guaranteeing face-to-face GP appointments for all patients who want them. This, alongside the reintroduction of family doctors, looks to make the NHS more accessible to people.

Another route that Keir Starmer’s party wants to take the NHS is integrated care systems. This approach aims to align healthcare services - and in some cases, co-locating them on a single, shared site. This should make it easier for people dealing with multiple conditions to use a single point of contact for appointments.

Upgrading Social Care

The social care system in the UK has been chronically under-served for several years, with a 9.9 % vacancy rate for social care roles across the board in 2022/23. Labour has outlined an ambitious plan to establish a National Care Service that will allow everyone to live an independent and prosperous life. This will largely focus on partnerships between the NHS and social care - but it will require a bigger workforce. Labour’s social care plans will take a lot of work, with a big focus on driving standards up across the sector. Working with the Care Quality Commission will be important for this, as the local authority contracts for social care services must meet the new standards right away.

Tackling Mental and Women’s Health

People in the UK are taking more sick days than at any time over the past decade and Labour believes it’s a sign of a public health crisis. Mental health is one of the main areas that Labour are looking to tackle with their manifesto plans, which could help cut the sick days back. By improving public health and focusing on prevention and early diagnosis, Labour hopes to tackle mental health issues head-on. As mentioned previously, the NHS backlog is severe at the moment, with mental health patients experiencing the longest waiting times since 2010 for treatment. Labour aims to make changes in both the medical expertise of health professionals and the treatments offered to deal with mental health conditions effectively. Their goal, ultimately, is to treat mental health with the same level of priority as physical health. This will be achieved by bringing in more than 8,500 mental health professionals alongside specialist support for young people.

Women’s health is another big issue that Labour’s manifesto is targeting. The UK has the biggest female health gap in the G20 and the 12th largest across the world. This inequality also ties into ethnicity and income - which means that girls born in the most deprived parts of the UK will have 20 fewer years of good health compared to those in more affluent areas. Labour wants to end this disparity by training more health visitors and midwives to support mothers, babies and partners. Other issues, like the black maternal mortality gap, look to be squashed by new national targets outlined by Labour.

The Role of Locums in Healthcare Under Labour

Labour’s plans are certainly promising, but it will take a lot of healthcare workers to reach their goals. It’s likely that locums will play a big part in supporting the healthcare industry as a whole, but with an emphasis on mental health and community-based care. We expect to see more locum roles available across the industry in the coming years, so if you’re considering work as a healthcare locum now is a great time to start. It is a great opportunity to specialise in mental health and community-based healthcare roles, so if Labour wins it’s a victory for both healthcare and locums.

Labour’s Plans for Healthcare Hold Promise

With election day nearing, the polls are all pointing to a Labour victory. For the healthcare industry, a Labour win means a lot of things - but thankfully, it’s all mostly positive. From supporting local communities to focusing on mental health, Labour’s manifesto pledges outline some big changes across the NHS, which means that locums will likely have plenty of new opportunities to find unique and rewarding roles. If you’re interested in learning more about the available locum roles in healthcare, take a look at our latest vacancies at Globe Locums or get in touch with us for more information.

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