NHS staff have been going above and beyond to treat COVID and non COVID patients, while rolling out the national vaccination programme. We were pleased to see the chancellor recognise their efforts in his announcement today, and unveil £1.65bn for more jabs to protect people from COVID-19.
But the Budget was light on announcements for the health service. As Rishi Sunak rightly said, the pandemic is far from over. The health and care system is still facing much uncertainty, and still dealing with the immediate pressures of COVID-19, while facing a challenging legacy of the pandemic for years to come.
We ask the government to reaffirm its promise to give the NHS whatever it needs to deal with COVID-19.Chief Executive
Therefore we ask the government to reaffirm its promise to give the NHS whatever it needs to deal with COVID-19. It is crucial that there is more investment to cover extra COVID-19 related costs over the next year as and when they arise.
We recognise this is a tall ask. Trust leaders are aware that public finances across the board are stretched, and that the NHS received additional funding last Autumn. But the reality is that in the long term we will need to see more money to help the health service meet increased demand across hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services, both to treat those with COVID-19, and to tackle challenges like clearing waiting lists. The NHS workforce, which has worked tirelessly this past year, also must be rewarded.
Additionally the government today did not tackle the crisis in social care. The NHS and social care work closely together to deliver for patients. Time and time again governments have pledged to fix social care, to deliver the radical change people need, but this has so far yet not materialised. We urge the government to deliver its promise to unveil its plans for reforming social care by the end of the year.
This blog was first published by the Daily Express.