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Chair criticises lack of urgency to safeguard patient care

12 November 2020

Committee Chair Jeremy has criticised the failure of the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England & Improvement to acknowledge and respond to calls for urgent action to safeguard patient care and the NHS.

A report by the Health and Social Care Committee set out specific recommendations to address concerns including waiting times and managing the backlog of appointments, and the mental health of NHS staff, following its inquiry into Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond. Other critical policy areas requiring action include communication issues with patients, NHS and care workforce wellbeing during the pandemic, and future arrangements with the independent sector.

In a letter to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Executive of NHS England & Improvement Sir Simon Stevens, Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt notes a failure to respond to deadlines by end of October with a new deadline for substantive responses to recommendations of Monday 16 November

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee said:

“We made urgent evidence-based recommendations to ensure that patients, staff working in care and in the NHS, and the NHS itself are all properly supported during the significant disruption to NHS and care services as a result of the current pandemic. Disruption to cancer services alone risks tens of thousands avoidable deaths.

“It is deeply concerning that we’ve had no response to our request for a clear strategy to tackle waiting times and the huge backlog of appointments, among other critical areas, by the end of October.

“We’re urging the government and NHS England & Improvement to make this a priority now and set out their plans that will safeguard patient care.”

Further information

Image: PA