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London Medical Laboratory responds to Labour’s election victory

The leading preventative healthcare testing organisation London Medical Laboratory says Labour has many encouraging ideas for local health reform, but it mustn’t take healthcare workers and pharmacists for granted.


A leading expert says Labour’s victory in Thursday’s general election could help set NHS services back on track, but the new Government needs to prioritise local healthcare, vital pharmacy services and empower preventative medicine.

Dr Avinash Hari Narayanan (MBChB), Clinical Lead at London Medical Laboratory, says: ‘The incoming Prime Minister, Kier Starmer, and his likely Health Minister, Wes Streeting, will enjoy a period of goodwill, but must not take health workers and hard-pressed pharmacists for granted.

‘Labour has promised to cut the NHS waiting list with 40,000 more appointments each week, during evenings and weekends, which it claims will be paid for by cracking down on tax avoidance and non-dom loopholes. It also promises the “Return of the family doctor”. These are welcome pledges, and one of the Government’s key tasks from day one will be to achieve these goals.

‘We agree entirely with its policy to “shift our NHS away from a model geared towards late diagnosis and treatment, to a model where more services are delivered in local communities”. It’s a cliché, but it’s true that prevention is better than cure. Furthermore, identifying conditions at as an early a stage as possible is often vital in ensuring a successful outcome. The wider use of measures such as blood tests can help identify issues before symptoms even show.

‘We have said before, however, that we have some reservations about exactly how Labour will achieve its targets without further exploiting hard-pressed health workers.  It says the 40,000 additional appointments a week will be achieved by “incentivising staff to carry out additional appointments out of hours.” NHS workers, just like staff at local clinics and pharmacies, already work long hours and that includes significant amounts of overtime. Of course, healthcare is not a 9-5 job, but as the recent junior doctors strike has emphasised, many NHS and other health care workers are near to breaking point. This needs to be recognised in terms of employing additional staff and adequately paying people at all levels of health services.

‘Labour has also promised to create a Community Pharmacist Prescribing Service, granting more pharmacists independent prescribing rights where clinically appropriate. It’s vital pharmacies should be empowered to offer many more services, including menopause support and treatment for certain infections. They should also be able to increase specialist services such as finger-prick blood tests to identify a range of conditions.

‘However, many community pharmacies say that they are receiving insufficient renumeration for already introduced new services at a time when they are increasingly stretched. Furthermore, it is important to note that medical services cannot be substituted with non-medical services, despite achieving similar or comparable outcomes for patients. People still want to see doctors. Changing mindsets will be a long-term game not only through educating the public but also levelling up other services while improving the medical workforce.

‘For anyone concerned about easy access to healthcare, it’s useful to know that revolutionary new blood tests introduced in the last few years mean people have swift access to a vast array of information about their own health through a simple finger-prick test, which can even be taken in their own home.

‘For example, London Medical Laboratory’s General Health Profile blood test monitors seven key areas of health. It can be taken at home through the post, or at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer these tests across London and nationwide in over 120 selected pharmacies and health stores. For full details, see: https://www.londonmedicallaboratory.com/product/general-health

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

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