Ministers, health leaders and clinical experts will meet in Downing Street on Saturday in a bid to address short- and long-term problems facing the health service.
Rishi Sunak to host NHS recovery forum at Number 10 as the winter crisis progresseswith discussions focused on social care and deferred discharge, urgent and emergency care, elective care and primary care.
The prime minister’s spokesman said the aim was to “share knowledge and practical solutions so that we can tackle the most crucial challenges” in both health and social care.
But the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, said the meeting could not solve the crisis that “has been brewing for a decade or more”, adding: “The reality is that there are no silver bullets here.” “
The meeting comes amid warnings from senior doctors about the “intolerable and unbearable” state of the NHS this winter, with ambulances queuing for hours outside hospitals, several trusts announcing critical incidents and rising cases of flu and COVID affecting the service.
It also comes as the government continues to disagree with the nursing and ambulance unions over wages and working conditions, with both professions set to take further strike action later this month.
Young doctors could join them on the pickets in March if a ballot is approved by union members.
The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Pat Cullen, said on Thursday she would be willing to “meet the government halfway” over their wage demands, Sky News understood. an increase of 10% could be accepted by its members.
But although the government has invited unions to further talks next week and health secretary Steve Barclay has said he is “eager to have a dialogue”, ministers stick to their position to follow the recommendations of the independent wage review body for an increase closer to 4%.
Saturday’s forum will run for most of the day, with attendees including chief executives and clinical leaders from NHS organisations, local areas and councils across the country, clinical experts from Royal Colleges and independent industry organizations working with health services. health and social care.
Mr Barclay will also attend, along with Treasury Secretary John Glen, Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden and NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard.
But the RCN has not been invited.
aiming at Sunak’s first big speech of the yearListing the NHS as one of his priorities in office, a Downing Street spokesman said: “As the Prime Minister made clear this week, easing immediate pressures while focusing on long-term improvement of the NHS is one of its 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 we can address the most crucial challenges, like 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 need to be able to access quality healthcare.”
But Labor said the patients “deserve more than a talk.”
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “After 13 years of NHS mismanagement, this is the equivalent of arsonists calling a forum with the fire brigade to put out the hell they started.”
“Clinical leaders and health experts have been sounding the alarm for months about the crisis facing the NHS, so why did Rishi Sunak and Steve Barclay take so long to decide to listen to them?
“After five Conservative prime ministers and seven health secretaries, it is clear that the longer the Conservatives are in power, the longer patients will wait.”
The Lib Dems also called the forum “too little, too late”, with Deputy Director Daisy Cooper saying: “Sunak must stop operating at a snail’s pace and start acting with the speed and urgency this unprecedented crisis of the NHS”.