It comes as senior doctors say the NHS is on a knife edge
The Prime Minister will host an NHS Recovery Forum, with experts from the health and care sectors convening in Downing Street on Saturday to discuss how to improve NHS performance and outcomes.
The forum is set to focus on four crucial issues: social care and delayed discharge; urgent and emergency care; elective care; and primary care.
It comes as senior doctors say the NHS is on a knife edge, with many A&E units struggling to keep up with demand and trusts and ambulance services declaring critical incidents.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay, Treasury minister John Glen, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden and the Chief Executive Officer of NHS England Amanda Pritchard are set to attend.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “As the Prime Minister made clear this week, easing the immediate pressures whilst also focusing on the long-term improvement of the NHS is one of his key promises.
“That’s why we’re bringing together the best minds from the health and care sectors to help share knowledge and practical solutions so that we can tackle the most crucial challenges such as delayed discharge and emergency care.
“We want to correct the unwarranted variation in NHS performance between local areas, because no matter where you live you should be able to access quality healthcare.”
The forum will run for the majority of Saturday and attendees will include chief executives and clinical leaders from NHS organisations, local areas and councils from across the country, clinical experts from Royal Colleges and independent sector organisations working with health and social care services to deliver services for patients.
In his new year speech on Wednesday, the PM set out as one of his key promises, that NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly.
Responding to the announcement of the NHS Recovery Forum, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “After 13 years of mismanaging the NHS, this is the equivalent of the arsonists convening a forum with the fire brigade to put out the inferno they started.
“Patients deserve more than a talking shop. Clinical leaders and health experts have been sounding the alarm for months about the crisis the NHS is facing, so why has it taken so long for Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay to decide to listen to them?”
Mr Streeting added the £500 million for delayed discharges promised by the Government is “yet to reach the front line and is now too late to make a difference this winter”.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said the meeting would be “too little, too late”.
The party’s health spokeswoman added: “Hundreds of people have been dying needlessly each week in the worst NHS crisis ever experienced in this country, whilst the Prime Minister sat on his hands.”
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said Saturday’s meeting would not be able to solve the problems facing the health and care sectors.
“The reality is that there are no silver bullets here,” he said.
“This crisis has been a decade or more in the making and we are now paying the high price for years of inaction and managed decline.
“Patients are experiencing delays that we haven’t seen for years.
“High levels of flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rising Covid levels are exacerbating the problem but the cause is decades of under-investment in staffing, capital and the lack of a long-term solution to the capacity-crunch facing social care.
“None of these problems can be solved tomorrow.”
Mr Taylor called on ministers to “negotiate a swift end to the industrial dispute” with health workers, including nurses, over pay or else risk “indefinite” strike action “on top of the already mounting challenges”.
Published: 06/01/2023 by Radio NewsHub