NHS waiting lists at record levels; how Sajid Javid must respond – The Yorkshire Post says

AS HOSPITAL waiting list figures reach a new record of 5.45 million patients, it is sobering to think that they would be even higher if it wasn’t for the commitment of staff across the National Health Service.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid alongside Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, during a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital.

This country continues to be in debt and they deserve to be shown the utmost respect after Sajid Javid, the Health and Social Care Secretary, conceded that delays will escalate further in the coming months.

In many respects, Mr Javid’s task is an invidious one – he succeeded the disgraced and now departed Matt Hancock at a time when Covid fatigue is being compounded by an ever worsening staffing crisis and the pressing need to maintain the vaccine programme.

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And until a new generation of doctors and nurses can be trained – a process that takes time – it will require Mr Javid, and senior health bosses, to manage the crisis to the very best of their ability. This means honesty as well as a constant dialogue with both staff and patients. New ways will be needed to prioritise those with the greatest health needs – and make the most efficient and effective use of hospital resources.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid alongside Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, during a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital.

Must crucially of all, there will need to be unprecedented collaboration with the social care sector as its own staffing pressures become so acute that Mike Padgham, head of the North Yorkshire-based Independent Care Group, has called for Parliament’s recall to formulate an emergency plan of action.

Previously, Mr Hancock focused on the health aspect of his brief and to the detriment of social care. Our hope is that Mr Javid recognises that both spheres of policy go hand-in-hand.

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