SIR Keir Starmer is visiting Braintree today to set out Labour’s plan to create “an NHS fit for the future”.

The Labour leader will pledge to tackle the biggest killers, including suicide, and bring NHS waiting times back down to safe levels.

He says his plan is one that will build an NHS “that protects what is precious and embraces what is possible”.

His bold pledges include reversing the rising suicide rate, so it is declining within five years; reducing deaths from heart disease and strokes by a quarter within ten years; and hitting all NHS cancer targets.

Braintree and Witham Times: Labour leader - Sir Keir Starmer visited Grays, Essex, in FebruaryLabour leader - Sir Keir Starmer visited Grays, Essex, in February (Image: PA)

During his speech in Braintree later today, Sir Keir 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.”

Labour is promising that by reforming the NHS and making training improvements, ambulance and A&E wait times and hospital waiting lists for people needing specialist care will be slashed within five years.

Suicide will be a main discussion point in Sir Keir’s speech, with the leader of the opposition issuing a stark reminder that “the rate is going up”.

He will add: “Our mission must be and will be: to get it down.”

Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men in England under the age of 50, as well as for women who die within a year of giving birth.

The rate of lives lost to suicide had been declining from the early 1980s to the late noughties, but since 2008 has been steadily rising again.

Coroners statistics published earlier this month revealed that 2022 saw the highest number of suicides recorded in England and Wales.

This won’t be Sir Keir’s first trip to Essex, having used a visit to Grays in February to set out his pledges to crack down on anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.

Speaking in Grays, he said: "One of the things I think people are very concerned about is antisocial behaviour, particularly in town centres, and also drug dealing in town centres.

"That's why I'm absolutely clear, particularly having been director of public prosecutions for five years, that an incoming Labour government would crack down on that."

He said he wanted to support neighbourhood policing, rolling out a tactic called hotspot policing to disrupt gangs by increasing visible patrols.