Health Secretary outlines new NHS England plans, including £500m for social care
The health secretary Therese Coffey has unveiled her new Plan for Patients in the House of Commons today (Thursday, September 22) which sets out new targets for NHS England.
Ms Coffey claimed that the challenges facing the health service “necessitates a national endeavour”, and that she would be a "champion" for patients.
Additionally, she drew attention that whilst most patients have a "great experience" with the NHS, does not mean that the Government should "paper over the problems that we face".
Alongide being the health secretary, Ms Coffey is also the deputy prime minister and was appointed when Liz Truss was voted as the new PM by Conservative Party members.
Therese Coffey addressing the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)
What did Therese Coffey outline in her NHS plan?
The creation of an ambulance auxillary service was one thing Ms Coffey told the Commons she wanted to incorporate into the NHS.
Increasing the number of 999 and 111 call handlers was also a priority along with freeing up more hospital beds by the winter.
She said: “The local NHS will be in intensive work with those trusts to create more capacity in hospitals, the equivalent of 7,000 more beds by this winter through a combination of freeing up beds with a focus on discharge, and people also staying at home and being monitored remotely through the sort of technology that played such an important role during the pandemic.”
A £500m social care discharge fund, in the form of a “down payment”, will be put in place for the winter, and a huge plan for recruitment into social carers will be getting underway.
Ms Coffey said: “We will continue to work with DWP on a national recruitment campaign. In addition, since last winter we have opened up international recruitment routes for carers.
More money will be put into social care recruitment (PA)
“We will support the sector with £15 million this year to help employ more care workers from abroad.
“We are also accelerating the rollout of technologies like digitised social care records, which can save care workers about 20 minutes per shift, freeing up time for carers to care.”
Pharmacists will be able to prescribe certain medications rather than requiring a GP prescription, Ms Coffey added.
The Health Secretary told the Commons: “To help free up appointments, we will ease pressures on GP practices by expanding the role of community pharmacies. I’m pleased to announce that today we have agreed a deal for an expanded offer over the next 18 months.
“Pharmacists will be able to prescribe certain medications rather than requiring a GP prescription. As well as other measures involving community pharmacists, we estimate that this will free up two million appointments.”