NHS workforce pressures

NHS will be faster, fairer and simpler, pledges health secretary

Victoria Atkins has set out how she will make the NHS faster, fairer and simpler for patients as the new health secretary also pays tribute to a number of “important milestones” reached in the last few weeks for healthcare.

Atkins will make health and social care services faster by making it easier for people to access treatment in their area, as well as improving performance in emergency departments and cutting waiting lists.

Healthcare will be made more straightforward for patients by pushing on with the NHS’s integrated care overhaul, while staff will benefit from the latest technology to free up their time and reduce bureaucracy.

The health secretary has also vowed to make things fairer – for children, by protecting against health harms and, for the elderly community, by helping them maintain their independence for longer.

This will be further backed by plans to make the NHS more productive so it is fairer on the taxpayer as well as work to ensure health outcomes are not determined by where people live.

“I have spent the past few weeks meeting doctors, nurses, GPs, pharmacists and other health workers and heard wonderful stories about how they have gone above and beyond to deliver outstanding care for patients and cut waiting lists,” said Atkins.

She continued: “But I have also heard about their frustrations and where they feel they are not able to deliver the best possible care or where prevention or early intervention could have made a real difference.

“That is why I am committed to making health and social care services faster, simpler and fairer.”

The news comes shortly after NHS England data showed there were an additional 50,000 nurses in September 2023 compared to 2019, subsequently hitting a government manifesto target.

Data also revealed that, in the 12 months leading up to October 2023, there were almost 51 million more GP appointments delivered than in the same time up to October 2019.

“We face a difficult winter ahead,” added the health secretary. “And though our early winter planning is seeing some results we know there is much more to do.

“But having seen what our excellent staff can do I am confident that with the government’s support we can continue to deliver for patients over the coming months.”

Image credit: iStock

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