Thérèse Coffey unveils new NHS plan including 7,000 more hospital beds and £500m social care fund

Therese Coffey, Health Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister (PA Wire)

The new Health Secretary unveiled her plan to tackle NHS delays on Thursday, including making 7,000 more hospital beds available this winter and a new £500m social care fund.

However, Thérèse Coffey’s ‘ABCD’ proposals were criticized by Labor as ‘Sesame Street’, with Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting saying: “The Conservatives who promise to fix the crisis in the NHS are like the arsonist who promises to put out the fire they started. .

Laying out her plans to Parliament, Ms Coffey said everyone who needed a GP appointment should get one within two weeks and said the Government would explore a new “auxiliary ambulance service” to tackle delays in Delivery.

The measures promised by Ms Coffey were more 999 call handlers, a new £500m adult social care discharge fund and “intensive work” to create more capacity in hospitals, “the equivalent of 7,000 beds.” more for this winter.

She said, “Patients are my top priority and I will be their advocate, focusing on the issues that most affect them or their loved ones.

“Most of the time patients have a great experience, but we should not hide the problems we face.

“We expect delays to increase before they decrease as more patients present for diagnosis and treatment after the pandemic.”

Ms Coffey, who took office earlier this month, said she was “determined to tackle one of the most frustrating issues patients face” in getting an appointment to see a doctor or see a dentist.

Along with previously tracked plans to set a two-week target for everyone who needs a GP appointment to receive one, Ms Coffey said community pharmacists would have a bigger role in prescribing certain medicines to free up slots. for GP appointments.

It also pledged to tackle “dental deserts”, where areas of the country cannot access dental care on the NHS, by simplifying NHS dentistry routes for those trained abroad.

“These measures are the beginning, not the end, of our health and care ambitions,” he said.

“They will help us manage the pressure that health and care will face this winter and next, and improve these vital services for the long term. My priorities are patients’ priorities, and I will strive through a powerful partnership with the NHS and local authorities to improve care and meet public expectations.”

However, the Labor Party’s shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, said the NHS was facing the worst crisis in its history under Conservative Party rule.

He said: “She says patients will be able to get a GP appointment within two weeks, her party removed the guarantee of an appointment within two days that Labor introduced when we were in government, and made it clear this morning that this is not a guarantee at all, simply an expectation.”

He added: “She has no plans to provide the doctors our NHS so desperately needs and despite her Sesame Street political approach with her ABCD plan – by the way, the last time I marked ‘S’ was for social care, she lost the ‘N’ for nurses: without a plan to tackle the staffing crisis, I say to the Secretary of State: you don’t have a plan for the NHS.”

In a nod to a recent interview in which Ms. Coffey was interrupted by an alarm going off for Dr. Dre, Mr. Streeting said, “As Dr. Dre would say: it’s time for the next episode.”

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