Hospital Dr News

Health Secretary says “support and welfare of NHS staff is number one priority”

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in his first speech since being reappointed, has promised more capital funding for the NHS and legislative change to support the Five Year Forward View.

Hunt also hinted at improving the pay award for nurses, suggesting he would lobby the Treasury for a better deal.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool, he said: “The support and welfare of our staff must remain our number one priority in the years ahead.

“They are the people without whom we can do nothing. The evidence is clear that motivated staff give better care and we know we rely on a huge amount of goodwill.”

He said a key area where progress was needed was on securing a deal with the EU on the status of EU nationals working in the NHS.

“We need them, we want them to say, they are part of our NHS family. It is an early priority for this government to secure rights which we would like be broadly the same as the rights they have now. That is absolutely top of our list as the Brexit negotiations start,” he said.

Hunt said the NHS needed to be “creative about dealing with workforce shortages and gaps”, saying there were things trusts can do and things the government can do. These include creating flexible career paths into nursing and other roles, such as the nurse apprenticeship scheme starting in September.

Hunt warned the result of the general election had changed the “legislative landscape” in terms of plans in the Conservative manifesto to introduce legislation to underpin changes to the NHS structure following the Five Year Forward View and sustainability and transformation plans.

He said: “Legislation of this nature is only going to be passed if there is a consensus across all parties that it is necessary. I don’t think that is in anyway impossible…

“It is not something we will do while the Brexit negotiations are carrying on but post-Brexit we will have a better understanding of the legislation STPs will need.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, commented: “We are pleased the Secretary of State agrees with our stance on the importance of linking health funding to nationwide economic performance, and we will continue to encourage the Government to commit to a funding level which is linked to GDP.

“The promise of more capital funding, which he re-iterated this morning, will help get transformation up and running.

“The Health Secretary also made encouraging comments on the issue of pay and we welcome his suggestion that this is something he will be discussing with the Chancellor – particularly the possibility of improvements for nurses.

“The issue of legislative change was also discussed, and although we concede a weakened Government will find this challenging, we’re encouraged that the Secretary of State will be pushing for cross-party consensus to deliver change.

“We look forward to continuing our discussions with the Health Secretary around these issues, as well as the urgent need for a fundamental review of which services are needed, how much they will cost and how they will be paid for.”

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation