Guernsey Press

Fact check: Wes Streeting said getting people back to work can help the economy

The Health Secretary was being interviewed as part of the Future of Britain conference.


Social media users have claimed Health Secretary Wes Streeting has made the NHS “open for sale to the highest bidder”.

One user wrote that Mr Streeting had said “The NHS is no longer a public service… it’s an economic growth department.”

The social media user added: “In other words, it’s for sale to the highest bidder in order to make money. You were warned.”

Another social media poster wrote: “Wes Streeting says the health service’s ‘starting point’ is how it can boost corporate profits — a complete inversion of Nye Bevan’s socialist vision of the NHS.” That post included a clip of Mr Streeting speaking.


Mr Streeting’s comments were taken out of context. He said the NHS and the Department of Health and Social Care could help people get healthy, which would help them return to work and contribute to the economy.

The facts

Speaking at the Future of Britain conference in London on July 9, Mr Streeting said: “One of the things I’ve said to my department and to the NHS is that we need to rethink our role in Government and in our country at large – this is no longer simply a public services department, this is an economic growth department.

“The health of the nation and the health of the economy are inextricably linked.

“That means we’re going to be a Government that firstly recognises that fact, and recognises that as we get people not just back to health, but back to work, that’s a big contribution to growth as there are three million people who are off work off sick.

“As we focus with a bold agenda on public health and prevention… we will not only be enabling people to live well, and live well for longer, but to contribute more and to drive the economic growth of the country.”

The clip that was shared by a social media user does not support that poster’s claim that Mr Streeting said the health service’s “starting point” is to boost corporate profits.

In the clip Mr Streeting talked about “ending the begging bowl culture, where the only interaction the Treasury has with the Department for Health and Social Care is ‘we need more money for x, y, and z’. The starting point has got to be: ‘We will help you achieve your mission for growth… by making sure that we are with you lockstep in driving growth’.”


First post on X (archived)

Second post on X (archived post and video)

Video of Mr Streeting’s talk (archived post and audio)

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