Health and Social Care Secretary Sets Out Vision for Year Ahead

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid spoke at the NHS Confederation providing a look to the year ahead with publication of a digital health and care plan, health disparities white paper and the NHS’s first-ever 15-year workforce strategy.

He reiterated plans to ensure the right leadership is in place at all levels of health and social care following landmark review.

Health and Social Care Secretary also called for stronger partnerships between different health and social care services to help tackle the COVID backlog.

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, set out his ambition to ensure every pound of taxpayer’s money is well spent in the health and care system when he spoke at the NHS Confed Expo today (Wednesday 15 June).

Speaking in Liverpool, he used his speech to discuss the need for the strongest health and social care leadership and better partnerships between health and care services as he looks to the year ahead.

Over the next 3 years, the Health and Care Levy will see a record £39 billion of additional funding invested in the health and care sector to help reduce waiting times and ease pressures on the workforce so they can deliver for patients. Progress is already being made with hundreds of thousands of patients receiving vital care more quickly through over 90 new community diagnostics centres (CDCs) to provide easier access to tests closer to home, delivering over 1 million additional checks already, and providing patients with earlier diagnoses.

Good progress is being made on cutting waiting times – the number of people on the longest waits has halved in the past 4 months. This is a direct result of our plan to tackle the COVID backlogs and the hard work of staff on the frontline.

Speaking to an audience of NHS professionals, the Health and Social Care Secretary talked about the power of partnerships – taking learnings from the pandemic to strengthen ways of working between different health and care services and drive down waiting times. For example, South London Health and Community Partnership – a unique partnership of 3 mental health trusts – has been able to bring out-of-area patients down by a third and readmissions down by two-thirds.

The Health and Social Care Secretary said:

“It’s not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about listening to the innovators already doing incredible things within the system – then giving them a platform to do it.”

“There are also some 50 acute trust collaboratives and mixed collaborative, bringing together acute, specialist, mental health and community providers.”

“They’ve already shown that when we partner like this, challenges that appear intractable in one place can be resolved in another.”

He also reflected on work already underway to tackle the COVID backlog, improve social care and narrow health inequalities. He set out what the government will deliver over the next year, including:

• a digital health and care plan
• health disparities white paper
• 10-year plans on cancer, dementia and mental health
• a reset of the NHS Long Term Plan
• a Health Education England workforce framework followed by the NHS’s first-ever 15-year workforce strategy

Looking ahead, the Health and Social Care Secretary said:

“I’ve been determined we keep moving forward, because this moment in time we dare not lose.”

“It’s a moment when we can combine valuable lessons from the pandemic, with incredible new technology and innovative ways of working, which when taken together, help us face the challenges of the future.”

“It’s a small window of time where we can make a big difference.”

On leadership, he reflected on the findings from General Sir Gordon Messenger and Dame Linda Pollard’s review into health and social care leadership published last week. The review found various examples of exceptional leadership in difficult circumstances. However, it also highlighted reports of poor behaviour, bullying and discrimination in certain parts of the health and social care system. Employing great leadership at the top will help to take burden off NHS staff, allowing staff to focus on providing care for patients and bringing down waiting lists.

 

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