Media coverage from #NHSP17

09 November 2017

Our 2017 annual conference and exhibition was well showcased by the national print and broadcast, trade and local media. We welcome journalists from the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Times, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, the Sun, BBC, Sky News, and ITN.

The publication of our latest workforce report – There for us: A better future for the NHS workforce, the opening address by NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson, and keynote addresses from Jim Mackey (NHS Improvement), Simon Stevens (NHS England) and the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt were widely covered.

Channel 4 News produced a short news item which summarised our theme for the conference – Pressure, and highlights from second day.

There for us

The BBC reported that NHS staff in England are working on the "edge of safety" as rising demand is outstripping the increasing numbers being employed.

The Guardian warned that uncertainty over the future of EU staff in the NHS is so damaging that it threatens the quality of care received by patients.

Sky News reported that staff shortages in the NHS pose a fundamental risk to patient safety and quality of care. It pulled out survey findings that the majority (66%) believe workforce issues are the "single biggest risk facing services.”

The Independent reported that NHS leaders are calling on the government to reform immigration policy to make it easier to recruit doctors and nurses from overseas and fill significant gaps left by UK workforce shortages. It highlighted our figures that 85% of trusts say overseas recruitment will be key to keep services running over the next three years.

The Daily Mail pulled out comparison figures from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, highlighted in our report, to warn that the UK is more reliant on overseas doctors and nurses than almost any other healthcare system in the developed world.

Nursing Times highlighted language testing as another key barrier to recruiting the staff that the NHS needs.

Public Finance write that NHS Providers has accused the government of “a fundamental failure at a national level” to ensure it has adequate staffing. It highlights that we make recommendations including an expansion of medical education to ensure a supply of highly trained staff and reversing cuts to training budgets. We also called on the NHS to continue to recruit from overseas.

Our workforce findings were well covered by broadcast channels. Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers featured in news bulletins on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 programming, she was also quoted through across BBC and commercial radio stations.

Paul Myatt, policy advisor – workforce, carried out local radio interviews with BBC Radio Coventry, BBC Radio Oxford, BBC Radio Shropshire, BBC Northampton, BBC Somerset and BBC North East.

BBC News at One included an interview with Saffron and footage filmed at Kingston hospital. Saffron was also interviewed by the BBC News Channel and featured as part of a pre-recorded package on Sky News Sunrise.  

Comment pieces

We accompanied the report with an editorial by Saffron which was published by the Guardian Healthcare Network, in which she outlines some of the key workforce challenges and recommendations.

This follows a piece in the New Statesman a week before which reiterates our call for the government to confirm right to remain for EU nationals, on which the NHS now greatly depends.

Read our workforce report – There for us: A better future for the NHS workforce


The opening address

Ahead of NHSP17, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson gave an exclusive interview in the HSJ. Teasing a key theme of his speech, he argued that national leaders needed to acknowledge that the NHS was deep in the “red zone” in a way that is not sustainable.

The Telegraph  wrote that NHS Providers has called for a cash injection to get the health service out of “the red zone” - warning it was heading back to the poor performance of the 90s

The Guardian writes that Chris warned finances were already so tight, and the service under so much pressure, that it could no longer meet its obligations to provide timely care, such as treating A&E patients within four hours and performing non-urgent operations in hospital within 18 weeks.

The I newspaper reported that the NHS is experiencing “the worst of times” as sustained financial pressures leave it permanently in “the red zone”.  

The Daily Mail covered the claim that the UK would need to invest an extra £900 per patient to match the healthcare spending in Germany.

The speech was also covered locally by local print titles.

Read the full speech on our website.

Key note address from Simon Stevens

On day two, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, delivered his key note address to NHSP17.

The BBC covered his call for the health service to get the cash boost it was promised during the EU referendum.

The I newspaper led with his warning that more than five million people will soon be on NHS waiting lists unless the health service receives urgent funding.

Alongside this, the Health Foundation, The King's Fund and the Nuffield Trust - carried out a joint analysis of NHS finances in England and argued that the NHS requires an increase of at least £4 billion in funding over the next two years to avoid patient care from deteriorating. This joint analysis was published alongside our own budget demands.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt argued that £300m could be saved from the NHS's £30bn supplies bill if every organisation paid the lowest price for items. He also outlined plans to publish a draft workforce strategy in time for the 70th anniversary of the health service.

In response to the speech by Simon Stevens, Saffron Cordery was interviewed by BBC News at Ten and BBC Radio 5 Live Drive, while head of analysis, Phillippa Hentsch undertook media interviews with the BBC News Channel, LBC and TalkRadio.


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