A Labour government would make it its mission to reverse the rising number of deaths from suicide, Sir Keir Starmer will pledge.

In a speech about the NHS on Monday, the Labour leader will commit to tackling the “biggest killers” – including heart disease, cancer, and suicide.

And he will say Labour will bring waiting times back to safe levels with “an NHS fit for the future”.

Sir Keir will commit his party to making sure deaths from suicide are declining within five years, and that deaths from heart disease and stroke are cut by a quarter in 10 years. He will pledge to hit all cancer targets so that patients are seen on time and diagnosed early.

“Suicide is the biggest killer of young lives in this country. The biggest killer. That statistic should haunt us. And the rate is going up. Our mission must be and will be: to get it down,” he will say.

“The next Labour government will deliver an NHS that is there when you need it. No backsliding, no excuses. We will meet these standards again. We will get the NHS back on its feet.

“We have a plan. We will fight for the NHS. We will fix the NHS. We will reform the NHS. Old values, new opportunities. Technology and science, convenience and control, renewal not decline. An NHS, not just off its knees but running confidently towards the future.”

But question marks remain over how the approach will be funded, with the party keen to emphasise “reform” over investment.

Shadow health minister Liz Kendall was asked on Sky News’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday programme how the party would fund its ambitions – and whether it was still considering a wealth tax to raise revenue, as previously suggested by Sir Keir.

She replied: “We’re not. You’ll know that I’m not going to sit here and pluck out figures out of nowhere when goodness knows what the state of the economy will be by the next general election.

“We’ve been pretty honest, where we do want to see increased investment, where we’ll get the money from.

“We’ve said we’ll scrap the non-dom tax status in order to fund the biggest workforce expansion in the NHS’s history – 10,000 more nurses, doubling the number of medical school places.”

But pushed on where extra cash for the changes would come from, she replied: “Whilst extra investment is essential, what I would argue is that reform is absolutely part of it too. We have said we’ll increase funding and support. I don’t think money alone is the solution.

“This is about reform: why does a family have to ring six or seven different numbers to try and get the service that their elderly parent needs? Why don’t we have one team? Reform can make a huge difference, if you look at delayed discharge from hospitals, £1.7bn was spent last year on elderly people in hospital who didn’t need to be there.

“Imagine the difference that could make if that was spent at home. Reform alongside investment is what we need.”

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