LABOUR shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has said he would “hold the door wide open” to the NHS for the private sector if his party was to win the general election.

Streeting's comments were said on a recent episode of the i newspaper podcast, Labour’s Plan For Power.

He said he hopes to get “quite tough on NHS England” to work with private sector companies on improving the service, and to invest in new technology.

“I want those entrepreneurs that are coming up with cutting edge treatments and technologies to know that when they come up with a great idea that can deliver better outcomes for patients and better value for taxpayers’ money, they’re not going to struggle to get through the front door of the NHS,” Streeting told the paper.

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He added: “We’re going to be holding the door wide open and encouraging them to come in.”

The comments came as Labour’s Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the podcast that private sector involvement in public bodies “doesn’t get you the right answer for the public”.

He pointed out that countries like Albania appeared to be ahead of the UK on the digitisation of public services at a recent conference he attended.

The National:

Streeting (above) said: “I listened to Albania talking about the way in which they have revolutionized public service delivery using technology, they’re streets ahead of us here in the UK.”

Reflecting on NHS England, Streeting added the body had “started to move in the right direction” by bringing in outside companies, but wanted to see government “put our foot on the accelerator”.

He said: “I mean sometimes they move at pedestrian pace. Why is it for example that where a treatment or technology is proven to work, proven to deliver better outcomes for patients and proven to deliver good value for taxpayers’ money in one NHS trust, do those innovators then have to try and tout their wares one by one around every other NHS trust?”

SNP Health and Social Care spokesperson Amy Callaghan MP reacted to the comments. She said: "It's now impossible to distinguish Labour from the Tories - from hard-right rhetoric on small boats to their determination to dismantle our NHS.

"Sir Keir Starmer must immediately call out Wes Streeting's unbelievable comments - but the damage is done as the Labour mask slips on their commitment to protecting our health service.

"Under the SNP, the Scottish NHS will always remain in public hands. Scotland has the highest NHS funding of the UK nations - a testament to the SNP Scottish Government's commitment to protecting our NHS. 

"While Scotland looks on in horror at the threat both Labour and the Tories pose to the health service, only the full powers of independence can get rid of Westminster governments for good - and guarantee that Scotland's NHS will remain in public hands."