Sunak to unveil ‘urgent care recovery plan’ as NHS crisis deepens

GMB: GP's stark assessment of 'broken' NHS amid winter pressures

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Rishi Sunak will lay out a blueprint to fix the crisis in the health service, as the crisis in the NHS continues to deepen. In his first domestic speech of 2023, the Prime Minister will set out his priorities for the year ahead. He is set to use the speech to acknowledge the unprecedented scale of the pressures facing the health service, pledging to bring forward an “urgent care recovery plan” later this month.

The Prime Minister will also pledge to introduce a recovery plan for primary care, aimed at improving access to GPs.

The plans will include a renewed focus on tackling delayed discharges, which currently contributes to filling up hospital beds.

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Sunak will take personal responsibility for the mission to tackle the crisis, inviting the public to judge him on his response.

This comes as the NHS is gripped by a “twindemic” of soaring flu cases and a number of COVID-19 infections.

Dr Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), claimed that up to 500 people are dying each week as a result of delays and problems with urgent and emergency care.

He urged the Government to “get a grip” on the crisis before the situation worsens, warning that he “would not be at all surprised” if this December was the worst on record for A&E waiting times and hospital bed occupancy.

Dr Boyle continued: “Over 90 per cent of clinical leads last week reported that they had people waiting in their emergency department for more than 24 hours.

“The gallows joke about this is now that 24 hours in A&E is not a documentary, it’s a way of life.

“These long delays are harmful for people – they are sick and need hospital but are waiting in the corridor of an emergency department. It’s undignified and it’s dangerous.”

A number of NHS trusts, including South Western Ambulance Service and East of England Ambulance, have declared critical incidents in recent days.

The pressure on the health service is set to be compounded if nurses and ambulance workers carry out their threat to step up strikes in January unless the government increases its pay offer.

Health leaders have warned that the chaos could continue into the spring.

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Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, warned that the chaos could continue until the spring.

He said: “It seems likely that the next three months will be defined by further critical incidents needing to be declared and the quality of care being compromised.”

Mr Sunak’s speech, set to be delivered this afternoon, will also include a new mission to ensure all pupils study some form of maths up to age 18 and leave school “better equipped for the jobs of the future”.

He is expected to say that giving “every child the highest possible standard of education” is “the single most important reason” why he entered politics, descibing the issue as being “personal”.

The PM is also expected to note that “every opportunity I’ve had in life began with the education I was so fortunate to receive”, continuing: “Thanks to the reforms we’ve introduced since 2010, and the hard work of so many excellent teachers, we’ve made incredible progress.

“With the right plan – the right commitment to excellence – I see no reason why we cannot rival the best education systems in the world”.

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