NHS Providers responds to news of government’s ‘Our Plan for Patients’

22 September 2022

Responding to news that health and social care secretary Therese Coffey will unveil a new plan for patients, the interim deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Miriam Deakin, said:

"Trust leaders will read carefully the detail of the secretary of state's plan for patients tomorrow, ahead of what will be a challenging winter.

"The next few months are going to be highly pressurised across all health and care services. Rising operational demands, a possible 'twindemic' of COVID-19 alongside an early flu season and a cost of living crisis risk making a challenging winter even more difficult for the health service.

"Colleagues across acute, mental health, ambulance and community services and general practice are striving to deliver high-quality care in challenging circumstances. We welcome the secretary of state's recognition that high quality accessible GP services are a cornerstone of the NHS. Colleagues in primary care, however, tell us that more investment and support is needed to attract, retain and develop GPs and other essential primary care professionals.

"We have a staggering 132,000 vacancies across trusts and many more in primary and social care. Demand across all services is increasing, response times are deteriorating, and handover delays continue to be a huge problem for hospitals unable to discharge patients who are well enough to continue their recovery at, or closer to home, largely due to shortages of staff and funding in social care.

"While a short-term focus on winter is welcome, without a long-term workforce plan to recruit and retain staff across all parts of health and care, as well as reform of social care, efforts to improve patients' access to care are going to prove challenging."

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