LABOUR will make the NHS “fit for the future”, Sir Keir Starmer pledged to an audience in Braintree.

Visiting the East of England Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team station in Braintree on Monday, the Labour leader outlined his party’s pledges to overhaul the NHS should he secure the premiership at the next General Election.

He claimed the NHS will not survive another five years under the Tories, whom he accused of not believing in their “heart of hearts” in the service’s core promise to ensure it is available for all those who need it.

Giving the speech in front of journalists and Labour members, Sir Keir made commitments including reducing cardiovascular disease by 25 per cent within ten years.

Braintree and Witham Times: Speech - Sir Keir Starmer in BraintreeSpeech - Sir Keir Starmer in Braintree (Image: PA)

Among the Labour members in attendance was Witham town councillor Jack Coleman, who felt Sir Keir’s pledge to shift towards more community-based mental healthcare, reducing the burden on hospitals, “offers solutions to some of Braintree district’s rural communities”.

“Often getting to the larger hospitals, such as Broomfield and Colchester, pose a challenge for residents who may have accessibility issues or do not drive,” said Mr Coleman.

He added: “Having adequate healthcare facilities within Braintree and Witham to alleviate pressure off the larger hospitals is welcome.”

Braintree and Witham Times: Councillor - Jack ColemanCouncillor - Jack Coleman (Image: Jack Coleman)

Sir Keir also used the speech to propose a ban on advertising junk food to children, which he has said will target both TV and social media, and measures to prevent suicide.

Labour’s pledge will be for suicide rates to start declining within five years.

Mr Coleman welcomed this pledge, adding: “Mental health provision across the district and, of course, the country is under extreme pressure.

“Expanding mental health provision across the Braintree district - working with schools, workplaces, and community groups to promote mental health - is a mission of Labour councillors in the district.

“As mentioned in the speech, we all know someone suffering with mental health, and far too many of us know somebody who has lost their life to suicide.”

Braintree and Witham Times: Labour leader - Sir Keir StarmerLabour leader - Sir Keir Starmer (Image: PA)

At the top of his speech, the Labour leader reminisced on his own memories of the district, having tied the knot at the Fennes Estate in Bocking.