Therese Coffey, the new health and social care secretary, sets out the government’s plans for the NHS and social care to deliver for patients, this winter and next. The government's plan for patients sets out the priorities for health and care, delivering across four key areas:
- doctors and dentists.
Read her Ministerial foreword below.
"Patients are my top priority. Purposefully, this plan is ‘Our plan for patients’.
The NHS has rightly been recognised with the award of the George Cross and the admiration of the British people, particularly for getting us through COVID-19. Most of the time, patients have a great experience, but we will not paper over the problems that we face.
Some of our challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and we expect backlogs to rise before they fall as more patients come forward for diagnosis and treatment.
As we face these immense challenges, I am determined to be the champion of the patient and focus the NHS and social care on how best to deliver for them.
My approach is to trust and empower to deliver. I will be proactive, not prescriptive, with a relentless focus on measures that affect most people’s experiences of the NHS and social care. This could be putting more information at the fingertips of patients or freeing up the time of clinicians. We have listened and we are responding by removing various reasons that healthcare professionals say are holding them back from what they do best: caring for patients.
This plan sets out a range of measures to help the NHS and social care perform at their best for patients. To succeed, we need a national endeavour. That could involve clinicians who have retired to return to work or opening up opportunities for the million people who volunteered to help during the pandemic, like becoming community first responders or Good Neighbour Scheme leaders.
Our plan will sit alongside the NHS Long Term Plan, the forthcoming workforce plan, and our plans to reform adult social care. It shows the concrete steps we are taking across several areas that matter to patients and people who draw on care and support, like creating more appointments in general practice, and getting more staff on the frontline.
This plan is a first step on an important journey. It clearly shows our commitment to putting patients first; using insights from data to deliver better services across the country. While we are not being prescriptive, we will share best practice in order to improve outcomes for patients.
The data shows that sadly there is too much variation in the care people receive – dental deserts; discharge delays; ambulance delays. I will endeavour, through a powerful partnership with the NHS and local authorities, to level-up and match the expectations that the public rightly have. Whether you live in a city or a town, in the country or on the coast, this government will be on your side when you need care the most."
Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care