You can’t build a healthy economy without a healthy society
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May 22, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.(Has been updated 6:01 am)
The Labor government of Sir Kia Sturmer will be driven by a clear mandate to raise economic growth to the highest levels in the G7 and build an NHS fit for the future.
But now, 13 years into the Conservative government, the NHS’s waiting list is huge, with patients waiting long in distress and struggling to access care for mental health, addiction and musculoskeletal problems. are doing.
Surprisingly, 2.6 million people are currently unable to work due to illness, mainly due to poor mental health.
Companies are struggling to fill vacancies. Major employers are so concerned about losing existing staff that some are even offering mental health support and even cancer diagnostics to staff who cannot access NHS treatment immediately. .
For taxpayers, that means higher benefit claims, as the UK has already spent $500 million more than expected on universal credit due to illness.
Experts estimate that the overall economic loss from disease is £43 billion a year. We cannot build a healthy economy without a healthy society.
We both come from underprivileged backgrounds and know that quality work can change your perspective.
More importantly, we are both instinctive health and well-being reformers determined to apply new thinking to today’s problems. We do not avoid this challenge or avoid facing it.
Safety is always guaranteed to those who cannot work. But if many people with long-term working conditions want help returning to work, we have a responsibility to support them.
Under our reforms, health services and welfare systems will operate in close tandem to ensure that people receive the personalized support they need to find quality jobs.
That means job center employment services will be the norm under Labour, juxtaposed with NHS services that help people get to work and then stay there while managing their own health. do.
Prevention is better than cure. Labor’s NHS reform plan will get people off waiting lists and out of work by catching problems early and preventing illness in the first place.
And keeping people in jobs, supported by fair wages and secure jobs, can also reduce demand for the NHS.
The world of work is changing rapidly, with new jobs emerging from technology AI to green energy. Our mission is to take advantage of these new opportunities to boost our economy.
It depends on keeping people healthy and addressing the barriers that currently prevent people from working. Our health and welfare reforms will help get Britain working again.
Jonathan Ashworth is the Director of Shadow Work and Pensions. Wes Street is the shadow health secretary.