Secretary of state sets out priorities for UK health and social care systems

The commitments will make health systems faster, simpler and fairer for patients

Health and social care secretary Victoria Atkins has set out new priorities to improve the health and social care system in the UK.

The new commitments intend to make the health and social care system faster, simpler and fairer for patients.

As healthcare systems approach the winter season, Atkins has committed to ensuring that  health and social care services are faster for patients by making it easier to get treatment locally, improving A&E performance and cutting waiting lists.

She commits to making systems simpler for patients and staff with joined-up integrated care and reducing bureaucracy by giving them the latest technology to free up their time to care for patients.

Furthermore, Atkins committed to making systems fairer by ensuring that children are protected from health harms; health outcomes are not determined by where people live; the government supports older people to maintain their independence for longer; and the government delivers a more productive NHS that is fairer for taxpayers.

So far, the government has shown good progress, according to an NHS England report, which revealed that ambulance handover delays have fallen by 28% since last year, thousands more 111 calls are being answered within one minute and nearly 1,500 more additional hospital beds are available.

The secretary of state also acknowledged social care and research staff’s recent efforts following the government’s delivery of 50,000 additional nurses in the NHS and 50 million more GP appointments, including COVID-19 appointments, as well as the recent roll-out of HIV opt-out testing to 46 areas across England.

“We face a difficult winter ahead. And though our early winter planning is seeing some results, we know there is much more to do. But having seen what our excellent staff can do, I am confident that with the government’s support, we can continue to deliver for patients over the coming months,” said Atkins.

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