NHS Providers responds to Sajid Javid speech on vision for year ahead

15 June 2022

Responding to a speech today by health and social care secretary Sajid Javid, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said:

"The health and social care secretary is right to acknowledge the 'unimaginable kinds of pressures' which continue to be faced by NHS workers, as well as their passion and dedication.

"He acknowledged too the 'incredible professionalism of the overwhelming majority of colleagues in health and care'.

"NHS trusts and staff in all sectors are working absolutely flat out to deal with very high demand and to reduce care backlogs, successfully bringing down the longest waits for treatment.

"The recent government-commissioned review into NHS leadership recognised the many examples of 'world-class' leadership across the service, but reflected back the complex pressures we face. Despite the challenges, trusts are committed to working together to support leaders and managers, eradicate racism and tackle health inequalities, improve productivity and efficiency, and ensure a high-achieving NHS as a care provider and employer.

"We look forward to working with the health and social care secretary to develop the role of provider collaboratives and partnerships to drive improvement, and with primary care colleagues to ensure that those critical services remain robust.

"As we highlighted in our NHS reality check report, the faultlines present long before the pandemic hit haven't gone away. The NHS has gone through a 10-year financial squeeze, the longest and tightest in its history, leaving a legacy of financial challenges. We face severe staff shortages with more than 100,000 jobs across the health system unfilled. And the problems in an underfunded and overstretched social care system are yet to be resolved.

"This was a wide-ranging speech setting out the health and social care secretary's ambitions for the future, but his decision not to mention the new hospital programme or the need for extensive investment in NHS buildings and facilities to tackle the alarming maintenance backlog will concern trust leaders.

"As we embrace the biggest government reforms to the NHS in a decade, unless and until ministers address these fundamental, long-running problems then the NHS will remain under huge pressure."

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