Prime Minister Liz Truss has promised to “bolster social care” and “level up Britain in her speech to the Conservative party conference this morning.
Addressing a full hall in Birmingham, the prime minister said the government’s proposed new investment zones would be central to achieving levelling up, telling the audience deputy prime minister and health and social care secretary Thérèse Coffey would improve access to GP appointments and tackle the covid backlog of patients waiting for treatment.
In the speech, the PM said that she is ‘determined to get Britain moving, to get us through the tempest and put us on a stronger footing as a nation’. With regards to the mounting energy crisis, Liz Truss told delegates that the Government took ‘immediate action’ to support businesses this winter and is ‘determined to support people from astronomically high bills.’
In fact, the PM said the UK is ‘doing more than any other country in Europe to protect people from the energy crisis’.
The PM also stated that the Government ‘has your back’ and Liz Truss said, ‘I’m not interested in just talking about things, but doing them.’
Social care organisations will be waiting to see this action, after long-awaited reforms.
She added: “This is the United Kingdom at its best: working together to get our economy moving.”
“Leaving the EU gives us the chance to do things differently and we need more of that.”
Last month, the Government announced plans to launch a £500m Adult Social Care Discharge Fund, as part of the Department of Health and Social Care’s ‘Our Plan for Patients.’ The Government said this first step will ‘inform further action from next year to rebalance funding across health and care, to establish a strong and sustainable social care sector with greater accountability for use of taxpayers’.
Funding of £15m this year has also been promised for the international recruitment of care workers. The DHSC said the funding will enable local areas to support care providers with activities such as visa processing, accommodation and pastoral support for international recruits. This will complement a national domestic recruitment campaign, which the Government is said to launch shortly.
NHS Providers’ interim chief executive Saffron Cordery said:
“Trust leaders share the prime minister’s desire for the NHS to deliver for patients, and the need to tackle fundamental problems affecting urgent and emergency care, ambulances and backlogs – as well as bolstering social care.
“Everyone in the NHS is dedicated to delivering high-quality care, as under-pressure staff work flat out in highly challenging conditions. Many health services are delivering above pre-pandemic levels and the longest waits for planned treatment have been virtually eliminated. GPs today are seeing more people than they did before the pandemic too.
“But soaring inflation eating into already stretched NHS budgets means that, in effect, trust leaders have even less money to meet ever-growing demand – on top of the extra cost to national NHS budgets of the government’s failure to fully fund below-inflation staff pay awards this year.
“And with 132,000-plus vacancies across trusts, on top of many more in other overstretched health and social care services, we reiterate our call for ministers to produce a long-term, fully costed and fully funded workforce plan to help the NHS attract and retain desperately needed staff.” “