British public are ‘paying more but getting less’ as NHS ‘wastes £10 billion a year’

Wes Streeting is expected to say he will focus on cutting wastage in order to help the NHS recover
Wes Streeting is expected to say he will focus on cutting wastage in order to help the NHS recover - AARON CHOWN/PA WIRE

Around £10 billion a year is being wasted by the NHS, Labour has claimed.

In his keynote speech at the Institute of Government on Jan 23, Wes Streeting will say taxpayers are “paying more but getting less” from the service under the Tories, promising reforms to provide better value for money.

In the dossier, Labour highlights the £3.5 billion spent on recruitment agencies, could have been used to train more staff and that £1.7 billion had been spent on hospital beds for patients who were well enough to leave, but lacked care at home.

It also points to £1 billion wasted because some hospitals spent twice as much as others on the same equipment, with a further £636 million spent on management consultants.

Sir Keir Starmer's ambitious plans for the NHS include doubling the number of NHS scanners and carrying out an extra 2 million operations, scans and appointments annually
Sir Keir Starmer's ambitious plans for the NHS include doubling the number of NHS scanners and carrying out an extra 2 million operations, scans and appointments annually - JOE GIDDENS/PA WIRE

In his speech, Mr Streeting will say such funds should be used to reform the NHS, and divert far more money to the front line.

The shadow health secretary, who has previously said the NHS “uses every winter crisis and every challenge it faces as an excuse to ask for more money”, will say the service should provide “better value for taxpayers” as well as better care for patients.

Promising to turn around the crisis in the NHS, Mr Streeting is expected to say: “I am focusing on waste because I want to give the public hope that the NHS can be saved. The money that is wasted today can be used to get the NHS back on its feet tomorrow. Only Labour has a plan to reform the NHS.”

Labour has said that many of its plans – including doubling the number of NHS scanners and carrying out an extra 2 million operations, scans and appointments annually – will be costed by abolition of non-dom status.

But the Tories have repeatedly questioned whether it is achievable for all the policies to be funded by this one move.

Wes Streeting has previously criticised the NHS for 'using every winter crisis as an excuse to ask for more money'
Wes Streeting has previously criticised the NHS for 'using every winter crisis as an excuse to ask for more money' - STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA ARCHIVE

Mr Streeting will promise some “cost-free” reforms, with further details of plans to allow health visitors to administer vaccines, to tackle the measles crisis.

The Conservatives have also highlighted comments by Sir Keir Starmer suggesting Wales is a “blueprint” for what a Labour government would do, pointing to the fact the country’s waiting times are far worse than those in England.

Victoria Atkins, the Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “We have been able to deliver record funding for the NHS alongside the NHS’ first ever Long-Term Workforce Plan meaning more doctors and nurses.

“By sticking to the plan that Rishi Sunak has set out, we will strengthen the economy, that’s how you pay for a strong NHS.”

Describing Labour’s 2030 energy plan as an “unfunded £28 billion spending spree” which would take the country “right back to square one” she said: “Labour can’t say how they would pay for their policies because they don’t have a plan and that means less money for the NHS. And just look at what’s happening where Labour do run the NHS in Wales, budgets cut and the longest hospital waits in the UK.”

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