The NHS Confederation has penned a letter to Boris Johnson, the UK’s new prime minister, urging that major areas of health are unfinished business and require action.
The letter also directly addressed the fact that supporting the NHS on its decade-long journey towards an integrated health and care system, as well as delivering extra investment for new buildings and infrastructure, social care and addressing major gaps in NHS staffing, should be at the top of the priority list.
The Confederation goes on to warn the prime minister that the question of NHS funding is not yet settled, despite the £20.5 billion funding settlement that kicked in from April this year.
The settlement excluded some vital areas of expenditure that will in part determine whether the NHS can achieve the ambitions set out in the Long Term Plan, most notably capital spending, training and education budgets, public health and social care. Failure to address these in the next spending review will put the delivery of the plan in jeopardy.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the organisation noted that “The prime minister’s to-do list is full with NHS issues that need solving now”, citing “social care is a national disgrace, NHS pension inflexibilities are lengthening waiting times and a lack of capital funding is hampering hospitals trying to improve services for patients.”
He continued, “On top of this, we have 100,000 staff vacancies which are damaging patient care. The Prime Minister has been in post a matter of days but we welcome his early personal commitment to addressing these issues. He needs to act with speed and conviction and we will work with him and his government to help find the right solutions.”
The organisation is also calling on the Prime Minister to ensure that patients do not suffer as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union. Protecting the medical supply chain, honouring reciprocal healthcare agreements and establishing workforce agreements, it urges, will be key.