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20.07.18

Hancock pledges to fix ‘heart-breaking’ low staff morale: ‘I will fight for you’

In his first-ever speech since taking up the top job, new health and social care secretary Matt Hancock – who replaces Jeremy Hunt after his massive six-year stint – set out plans to support the NHS workforce, which has been left feeling largely unappreciated in recent years.

He said: “The nation’s health is determined by the health of the health and care workforce. So it is heart-breaking to see how undervalued you often feel.

“The sense of duty and public service that motivates you to go into health and care is one of the things that make the NHS the institution it is. I am determined that the commitment you show to your patients is matched by the commitment we show to you. 

“So I have a clear message: I value you. I admire you. I will fight for you and I will champion you.”

Hancock went on to highlight the value of training and support in the sector and pledged to assist and review GP partnerships, as well as increase the training of pharmacists based in GP surgeries.

Hancock added that he wants to support nurses in acute hospitals so they can become advanced nurse practitioners and called for more people working in social care to be supported to develop careers.

“And while I will support you, I will also challenge you too. We all know there are parts of the working culture that needs to change. Less of a division between management and clinical staff – we are one NHS,” the secretary of state added.

“Less of a division between community health services and social care – we are one team. A culture of mutual respect for everyone.”

Prevention ‘critical’ to system

Hancock’s third priority, prevention, was emphasised as “critical” to making the health and social care system sustainable.

He commented: “Taking pressure off staff and improving patient outcomes is not just about enhancing the way that healthcare is delivered in a hospital. 

“With an ageing society and 10 million more people projected to be living with a long-term condition by 2030, it is more imperative than ever that we look to make a radical shift in our approach – focusing on preventative, joined-up care that’s centred around individuals. 

“Ensuring we’re improving our ability to intervene early -– especially, but not only, for cancer. Prevention, like technology, is mission critical to making the health and social care system sustainable.”

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