Wes Streeting: Withdraw your promise to use more private providers in the NHS

Wes Streeting: Withdraw your promise to use more private providers in the NHS

10 May 2022
Petition to
Wes Streeting MP (Labour) (Shadow Health Secretary) and 1 other
Signatures: 1,061Next Goal: 1,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Carly Jeffrey

On 7 January 2022, Labour's shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, told the BBC that if in power Labour would not “shirk”* from using private healthcare providers to tackle NHS waiting lists. He said that using private companies had proved “effective” the last time the party had been in power. 

Campaigners, NHS workers, policy-makers and unions all very quickly pointed out that using the private sector is not "effective". In most cases it is more expensive, less effective and often less safe. It is also A MYTH that the private sector has extra capacity that the NHS does not.

We ask that Wes Streeting urgently:

  1. Reverse the commitment that Labour will "use private sector capacity to bring down NHS waiting lists."
  2. Acknowledge that private providers are neither popular with the public (as he claimed); nor would they be "effective" in restoring the NHS service to where it needs to be.

Diverting public funds to pay for services in private hospitals and clinics is NOT THE ANSWER. Here's why...

a) The NHS and private companies recruit from the same limited pool of medical staff; so giving a service to a private company ACTUALLY TAKES STAFF AWAY FROM THE NHS. This can make the NHS less efficient and safe.

b) The private sector doesn’t have enough staff or beds to bridge the gaps in capacity that have been opened up in the NHS by a decade of austerity and bed cuts. It would be better to provide funds and resources to the NHS to build up its capacity than to give it to private companies to do the same.

c) Sajid Javid’s plan (which Wes Streeting is in agreement with) will funnel public money to profit-seeking private providers. The NHS will have to pay above NHS tariff prices to make it profitable for private hospitals to treat NHS patients - meaning EXTRA costs to the NHS.

Read more on why private contracting can't solve the crisis in the NHS 

Streeting has the ability to set the record straight and admit his reasoning was flawed. It is important that these false 'solutions' aren't given credence, because they lead to policy that damages provision of healthcare for us all.

As the foremost voice in opposition to Sajid Javid, it is crucial that Wes Streeting changes his stance on this matter that is very close to the nation's heart - keeping the NHS public.



* "As the last Labour government showed, using the private sector to bring down NHS waiting lists - it's effective, it's popular with patients, so no doubt the government will turn to the private sector, no doubt the next Labour government will have to use private sector capacity to bring down NHS waiting lists, and I won't shirk that for a minute to get people better outcomes." - Wes Streeting, appearing on BBC Political Thinking with Nick Robinson, 7/01/2022.





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Signatures: 1,061Next Goal: 1,500
Support now


  • Wes Streeting MP (Labour)Shadow Health Secretary
  • Labour Policy Makers/Ann BlackHead of Policy, NEC