Joe Bedell-Brill

Sunday shows round-up: Barclay outlines the NHS workforce plan

Health Secretary Steve Barclay speaks to Laura Kuenssberg [Credit: BBC]

‘The biggest workforce expansion in NHS history.’

At a time when the NHS is under extreme pressure, with staff shortages and strikes causing widespread disruption, Health Secretary Steve Barclay outlined the government’s £2.4 billion plan to employ more than 300,000 new doctors and nurses over the next few years. He clarified to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that this would be additional money from the Treasury – although he was vague when asked to explain how it would be funded.

What progress has been made on Sunak’s five pledges?

Sophy Ridge attacked the government’s record on its five main pledges, asking Barclay what would happen if the five targets set out by Rishi Sunak weren’t met. She pointed out that there were more people waiting for treatment from the NHS than ever before, but Barclay claimed the government’s plan was working, and that it had successfully reduced the longest waits as a first priority.

‘We’re scapegoating the NHS with far too much of society’s problems.’

Much of the discussion around healthcare is focused on problems with funding and staffing, but the panel on Kuenssberg’s programme were united in arguing that a greater emphasis on prevention was essential to ease the increasing strain on the NHS. Former health minister Lord Bethell said that long waits for treatment are an example of the NHS being forced to ration its services, and that measures to tackle issues such as gambling and obesity are necessary to make the country healthier as a whole.

Do public sector pay rises drive up inflation?

Ridge asked National Education Union leader Mary Bousted if she had any sympathy with the government’s suggestion that public sector pay rises were unsustainable because they contribute to inflation. Bousted strongly rejected the argument, claiming that private sector profits were a much more significant factor in inflation.

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