I think you have to be very careful to make sure you don’t get unintended consequences from legislation. Legislating takes a long time and I think we need to act faster than that to ensure safe staffing. So I want to solve the problem and the £20 billion for the NHS announced this week will help. I wouldn’t rule out legislation but let’s keep a close eye on how it works in Wales and in Scotland, if they do bring it in, and keep the discussion going.
Yes, I can. We are going to make sure that they can stay. They can apply for settled status and I want to reassure any nurse working in the NHS who is an EU national that they are welcome, needed and valued. We will do what’s needed to make sure they can stay for good.
Yes. I was really keen to see this happen for doctors and I noticed that when we made the announcement, lots of people said “hold on, why just doctors?” and I get that point. I heard that loud and clear so we have some work underway.
At the moment we’re recruiting for a Chief Nurse to work in between NHS England and NHS Improvement, and I’ve heard the RCN’s call for the Chief Nurse to instead be in the Department of Health and Social Care, or to have a Chief Nurse in the department as well. It’s something that I’m thinking about. We need to get that right.
Reducing admissions and making it easier for people to be discharged from hospital is vital. We put in extra money - another £240 million - to help councils provide care packages to those who are ready to leave hospital but don’t have support in the community. A further £650 million for social care was announced in the Budget on Monday. I appreciate that is short-term funding for this year and next, but before Christmas we’ll have a green paper on the future of social care to put in place a long-term sustainable funding system.
It’s incredibly important but it’s a challenge that is growing in terms of the number of people who need care and support in their adult lifetime. It’s one of a series of things that needs to be addressed with the extra funding coming into the NHS. I’m aware that we’re making some progress but there is an awful lot more that needs to be done. I spoke to the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, about this just yesterday so it’s a live topic.
This is one of my big priorities. As the funds for the NHS increase, we need to put more support in place to keep people healthy and prevent them becoming unwell. I have a big paper on this coming up very soon.
The opportunities to make people’s lives easier by using more technology in the NHS are enormous. We’ve already set plans in place so that everybody who needs to see somebody’s medical record can. This happens in some hospitals but not the majority and when I talk to people who have good systems in place they say they couldn’t do their jobs without them. So I want to spread this right across the NHS.
That’s a very important, big question to do with how the contract works and I’m always open for discussion about that. My overall goal here is to make the system better. People love working in the NHS because they have passion for their work and because they believe in its mission. But sometimes the system makes their job harder than it needs to be. Nursing is a great job despite the system rather than because of it and that’s something I think we should work together to change.