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Starmer: GP partnership coming to end of its life

Starmer: GP partnership coming to end of its life
By Jess Hacker
22 May 2023

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the GP partnership model is ‘coming to an end of its life’, and that primary care needs more salaried GPs.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning (22 May) ahead of an NHS policy speech today, Sir Keir also said that more mental health hubs are needed in community settings.

He said: ‘The partnership model in many cases is coming to an end of its life and we need to have more salaried GPs. We need more GPs, which is why we’ve got a big training programme [planned].

‘I do think that mental health hubs are needed in our communities, and that’s why we’ll be setting out today, amongst other things, 8,500 new mental health professionals in communities, with waiting times measured in weeks and not years.’

Sir Keir also doubled down on Labour’s past claims it intends to shift workload from hospitals to community settings to allow for earlier intervention and treatment.

‘The problem we’ve got at the moment is that our hospitals have too high a workload and we’re dealing with treatment too late. If we’re able to shift that into the community closer to people that will allow earlier diagnosis earlier treatment,’ he said.

He agreed that this would likely mean larger GP surgeries and diagnostic hubs on high streets.

In his speech in Essex today, Sir Keir is pledged that a Labour government would ensure people ‘get seen by a GP when they need’ within five years.

He is also expected to pledge to reverse the rising deaths from suicide, so they are declining within five years and hit all NHS cancer targets.

Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men in England under the age of 50 and for women who die within a year of giving birth.

In March, the party last week announced it would introduce ‘thousands more GPs’, funded by abolishing the non-dom tax status, to some scepticism from general practitioners.

And in April, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said that ICBs will lead on Labour’s new ‘neighbourhood health service’ plan for the NHS, which would see a greater focus on healthcare delivered out of hospital in community settings.

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