Diane Abbott has caused outrage after attacking her own party leader’s suggestions for NHS reforms.
Sir Keir Starmer wrote in a newspaper over the weekend and put forward the NHS reforms he would put in place if he won the next general election.
Starmer faced backlash from doctors after he suggested patients should be able to self-refer themselves to a specialist. Yui Mok
These included getting rid of what he called “bureaucratic nonsense”, letting patients self-refer themselves to a specialist rather than having to go through their GP.
He also supported “phasing in a new system” for GPs, this would turn family doctors into direct NHS employees.
The current model means self-employed GPs run their own practices under contracts awarded by the NHS.
Writing in the Telegraph, he went on to say that if these measures or ones similar weren’t taken, the NHS was ultimately “die”.
Diane Abbott was criticised for going against party leader Starmer. Daniel Leal-Olivas
Responding to Starmer’s reform suggestions, Abbott tweeted: “Keir Starmer has joined the right in calling for the ‘reform’ of the NHS. And we all know what that means.”
Reacting, former culture secretary Ben Bradshaw said: “No, he’s leading the calls Diane, just as the Labour government between 1997 and 2010 reformed the NHS and delivered the shortest waiting times and the highest patient and staff satisfaction in the NHS’s history.”
The comments came as ongoing strikes action by NHS employees, and staff shortages, threatens to cripple the organisation.
Last week, the proportion of patients seen within four hours in England’s A&Es fell to 65 per cent in December, a record low.