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‘Overwhelmingly negative narrative must stop’


NHS England’s chief strategy officer has called for a “reset” of the current “overwhelmingly negative narrative” about the health service.

Chris Hopson said there was a collective responsibility to present a more balanced picture, while still being honest about problems.

The service should do more to emphasise successes, improvements and where there is good performance, he said.

He acknowledged there were too many instances where good quality care could not be delivered due to current pressures on the service. But they were being addressed and improvements being made.

“We need to make sure that our staff, our patients but also the taxpayers hear that more balanced narrative,” he said at the Ambulance Leadership Forum event on Wednesday. Ambulance services – whose response times have sky-rocketed, well beyond their targets, over the past 18 months – have been at the centre of much recent negative coverage.

Mr Hopson argued that the constantly negative narrative was having an impact on staff – whose work was not being recognised – and creating a sense that the NHS was broken.

“That narrative is partly being driven by opponents of the NHS and also [those] who want to attack the government,” Mr Hopson said, although he acknowledged that it also reflected genuine instances of staff and patient experience.

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Source: HSJ, 8 September 2022

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