Rishi Sunak to hold NHS crisis meeting at No 10 amid rising pressure on health services
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Rishi Sunak is meeting with ministers, health leaders and clinical experts at Number 10 to solve short and long-term issues facing the NHS as pressures continue to rise throughout the winter crisis.
Monday’s meeting is said to be called a ‘recovery forum’ with discussions taking place in Downing Street focused on health services including social care, delayed discharge, urgent, emergency care and more.
A spokesperson for the PM confirmed the aim was to "share knowledge and practical solutions so that we can tackle the most crucial challenges" in both health and social care.
While the move may bring some hope, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, has said would not be able to fix the crisis.
Taylor said that the crisis they are hoping to solve "has been a decade or more in the making" and went on to say that "the reality is that there are no silver bullets here."
Senior doctors have frequently warned the government of the "intolerable and unbearable" state of the NHS this winter. There have been reports of ambulances queuing for hours outside hospitals, several trusts announcing critical incidents, and rising cases of flu and COVID impacting the service.
The meeting comes as the government is still butting heads with ambulance and nursing unions over pay and working conditions. Strike action first took place December 15 and 20, following a vote that saw 100,00 members of The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) in favour of action across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Further action from nurses and paramedics is expected to take place later this month.
On the strikes for ambulance staff, Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: "The decision to take action and lose a day’s pay is always a tough call. It’s especially challenging for those whose jobs involve caring and saving lives.
"But thousands of ambulance staff and their NHS colleagues know delays won’t lessen, nor waiting times reduce, until the government acts on wages. That’s why they’ve taken the difficult decision to strike."