Response to Labour Party conference health and care announcements

28 September 2022

In response to health and care policy pledges made at the Labour Party's annual conference, NHS Providers' interim deputy chief executive and director of policy and strategy, Miriam Deakin, said:

"Trust leaders welcome recognition of the urgent need to address capacity gaps in social care which have a direct knock-on effect on the NHS. These services are essential to help people maintain their independence and in supporting people to return home swiftly after a hospital stay.

"It is good too to hear a focus on mental health, tackling health inequalities, investing in expanding the workforce and boosting prevention in the community.

"With a staggering 132,000 vacancies across trusts and many more in primary and social care, we need a long-term national workforce plan to help the NHS and social care recruit and retain the staff they need. Without this, efforts to improve patients' access to care will be challenging.

"The NHS is doing all it can to meet unprecedented demand in the face of severe workforce shortages, backlogs in mental health, community and hospital care, and huge pressure on A&E and ambulance services. Colleagues are working flat out to deliver high-quality care – in many areas exceeding pre-pandemic activity levels – but the pressure is still increasing across the board.

"The coming months promise to be highly pressured right across the health and care system. The prospect of a 'double whammy' of COVID-19 and flu waves amid the effects on health of the rising cost of living risk making a challenging winter even more difficult."