Wes Streeting explains how NHS and care could make UK billions

The new Labour government is indicating that it would like the UK’s state-funded health and social care sector to make more money for the country.

In a speech at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Wes Streeting announced that he wants to expand the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) focus to look at boosting economic growth.

This he said would be achieved with the following steps:

  1. By attempting to cut wait times and improve public health, the government will look to support people with their health and speed up their return to work, while maintaining the health of those in work;
  2. The government will aim to make the UK a life sciences and medical technology powerhouse. By ensuring the NHS works hand-in-hand with life sciences research institutions and medical technology companies, the government will drive the development of new treatments and help grow the industries.
  3. The government will look to use the NHS and social care’s role as local and regional anchor institutions as engines of economic growth, by providing training and job opportunities to local people across the country.

In response, Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: “For too long, health and social care has been seen as a drain of economic resource, but Wes Streeting’s commitment to make economic growth a priority for the Department of Health and Social Care is a refreshing reframing of the narrative that so often surrounds our sector.

“As the largest employer in the country, our sector already contributes over £60 billion to the economy. With the right investment, a stable and sustainable social care sector can drive economic growth, add significant value to the economy, and provide meaningful employment for people of all ages up and down the country.”

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