News Article

Labour has won the UK general election. What now?

8 July 2024

It has been waiting a long time for the opportunity to govern, and the public having spoken, now is the time for action. When it comes to healthcare Labour will want to hit the ground running.

Its pledges look good on paper. Clearing the NHS waiting list backlog within five years, halving the gap on healthy life expectancy between the richest and the poorest regions, “world leading” trials, a workforce plan.. It would be good to hear more, however, on social care, which must be part of any proposed health reform.

The problem is, very little of this can be done immediately, and all of it needs funding. A glance at the national debt shows that serious thought will need to be given as to where the money needed by the NHS (an additional £38bn a year by 2029-2030 according to some estimates) might be found.

Priorities will need to be set. Waiting lists could well be seen as the most pressing issue for the majority of any additional funding in the short term, but going forward, it would not be surprising to see a new balance between collaboration and competition, and PPP solutions coming to the fore.

Labour – which created the NHS in 1948 – is generally more trusted to protect and regulate it than the Conservaties. Any nudge towards privatisation is unlikely – but privatisation of the supply chain might continue.

Labour has some tough choices ahead about what to do first – it will be interesting to see how it makes them, starting today.

What would you like to see from Labour on healthcare in the coming months?