September 30, 2022

In his first public acknowledgement of the disaster dealing with the well being service since taking workplace final month, Steve Barclay stated ministers face a ‘actual dash’ to organize the NHS for the months forward

The NHS is staring down the barrel of one in every of its worst winters on file with a triple whammy of Covid, flu and the price of dwelling disaster set to batter understaffed hospitals, the brand new Well being Secretary has warned because it emerged cops are being despatched to ambulance callouts amid a paramedic scarcity.

Steve Barclay stated ministers face a ‘actual dash’ to organize the NHS for the months forward and promised to chill out recruitment guidelines and launch a hiring blitz to get the well being service prepared for the chilly months, when it faces further pressures.

A surge in coronavirus instances, a very unhealthy flu season and poor well being amongst Britons on account of hovering meals and power costs are anticipated to exacerbate the disaster inside NHS, he stated.

He plans to rent hundreds extra overseas medics from international locations which produce extra nurses than they want, together with, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Philippines.

And he stated social care may gain advantage from hiring  overseas nurses whose English will not be adequate to work within the NHS. The language requirement to work in care houses is decrease than in hospitals. 

The NHS is in need of tens of hundreds of nurses and round 6,000 GPs. However the problem in social care is even worse, the place there are 105,000 vacancies.

A scarcity of employees in social care has created a logjam in hospitals as a result of aged sufferers can’t be discharged into care houses. 

In the meantime, it emerged at this time that cops in England and Wales are being pressured to select up the well being service’s workload, with armed officers displaying as much as deal with cardiac arrest sufferers on account of too few paramedics.

Officers in armed response autos, who’re skilled in first support and defibrillators, are being pulled away from tackling crime to attend cardiac arrest sufferers as a result of the NHS ‘can’t deal with demand’.

Mr Barclay referred to as for daring selections to be made now, earlier than Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss are appointed as Prime Minister subsequent month, or will probably be ‘too late’ to save lots of struggling hospitals.

The NHS disaster has seen the backlog for routine hospital therapy soar to a file 6.6million and A&E efficiency plunge to a file low — with greater than 700,000 Britons ready greater than 12 hours up to now this 12 months.

Well being chiefs blame the social care disaster — with too few employees to take care of sufferers able to be discharged — together with hovering demand, Covid pressures and better than common employees absences as a result of virus. 

Ambulance response occasions have been hit in consequence, as packed hospitals scramble to search out beds for 999 sufferers, leaving ambulances queuing exterior hospitals for as much as 20 hours.

At the same time, the NHS backlog for routine treatment grew from 6.4million to 6.6million in May, the latest month with data, meaning one in eight people in England are now waiting for elective care, often in pain

On the identical time, the NHS backlog for routine therapy grew from 6.4million to six.6million in Might, the newest month with information, which means one in eight individuals in England at the moment are ready for elective care, usually in ache

Ministers have admitted that the NHS will fail to meet a key deadline to treat all patients who have been waiting for treatment for over two years for routine treatment by July. The number of patients queuing for more than two years, which only started to be logged in April 2021, peaked at nearly 24,000 in January. But 8,028 patients were still queuing by May

Ministers have admitted that the NHS will fail to satisfy a key deadline to deal with all sufferers who’ve been ready for therapy for over two years for routine therapy by July. The variety of sufferers queuing for greater than two years, which solely began to be logged in April 2021, peaked at almost 24,000 in January. However 8,028 sufferers have been nonetheless queuing by Might

Heart attack patients waited more than 50 minutes for an ambulance on average in England last month — nearly triple the NHS target. There were more than 300,000 category two callouts in June

Coronary heart assault sufferers waited greater than 50 minutes for an ambulance on common in England final month — almost triple the NHS goal. There have been greater than 300,000 class two callouts in June

Some 22,034 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in June from a decision to admit to actually being admitted, NHS England said. The figure is up from 19,053 the previous month, but still below a record of 24,138 in April, which was the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010. The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission stood at 130,109 in June, up from 122,768 the previous month. A total of 72% of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es last month, down from 73% in May

Some 22,034 individuals needed to wait greater than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in June from a choice to confess to really being admitted, NHS England stated. The determine is up from 19,053 the earlier month, however nonetheless beneath a file of 24,138 in April, which was the best for any calendar month in information going again to August 2010. The quantity ready not less than 4 hours from the choice to confess to admission stood at 130,109 in June, up from 122,768 the earlier month. A complete of 72% of sufferers in England have been seen inside 4 hours at A&Es final month, down from 73% in Might 

More in-depth data, published by hospital executives in their own board papers, reveal the true toll was closer to the 34,000 mark over the same timespan. This metric measures the number of 12-hour waits between when a patient arrives at A&E until they are admitted, discharged or transferred. At the worst-affected trusts, just a handful of waits were recorded under the official measure. This includes Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, which registered 2,667 12-hour waits in its board papers for May but just four in the NHS publication for the same month. And Bedfordshire Hospitals Foundation Trust only reported one 12-hour wait in the routinely-published nation-wide log but stated there were 400 half-day waits in their board papers

Extra in-depth information, printed by hospital executives in their very own board papers, reveal the true toll was nearer to the 34,000 mark over the identical timespan. This metric measures the variety of 12-hour waits between when a affected person arrives at A&E till they’re admitted, discharged or transferred. On the worst-affected trusts, only a handful of waits have been recorded underneath the official measure. This consists of Liverpool College Hospitals Basis Belief, which registered 2,667 12-hour waits in its board papers for Might however simply 4 within the NHS publication for a similar month. And Bedfordshire Hospitals Basis Belief solely reported one 12-hour wait within the routinely-published nation-wide log however acknowledged there have been 400 half-day waits of their board papers

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A file 6.6million individuals are within the queue for routine therapy in England and that quantity is predicted to maintain rising for an additional two years as sufferers flood again into the NHS following delays through the pandemic.

Lots of of hundreds of sufferers have been ready longer than a 12 months and hospitals are struggling to satisfy the Authorities’s promise to axe two-year waits by the top of this month.

Greater than 22,000 sufferers attending casualty items wait 12 hours or extra to be given a mattress, in circumstances described by consultants as ‘inhumane’. 

Fewer than three-quarters of sufferers are seen inside the four-hour goal of arriving at overwhelmed emergency departments.

In the meantime, figures on ambulance efficiency in Might exhibits ambulances took a mean of 51 minutes and 38 seconds to reply to class two calls, corresponding to burns, epilepsy and strokes — greater than double the 18-minute goal.

Response occasions for class three calls – corresponding to late levels of labour, non-severe burns and diabetes – averaged two hours, 53 minutes and 54 seconds.

Ambulances are presupposed to arrive at 9 in 10 class three calls inside two hours.


Mr Barclay additionally faces the specter of strikes as unions representing employees from docs to cleaners demand a pay rise of as much as 30 per cent, claiming the workforce is being underpaid. 

Votes on industrial motion are anticipated within the coming months in what has been dubbed the ‘summer time of discontent’, which may cripple the NHS.


Social care employees are additionally quitting the sector in droves for better-paid and fewer irritating jobs in outlets, supermarkets, pubs and motels, which means aged residents could possibly be getting substandard care.

With 160,000 posts presently unfilled, that has a knock-on impact on the mattress disaster within the NHS as a result of older sufferers can’t be discharged.


Mr Barclay may even should determine whether or not to reimpose face masks or different mild social restrictions that his predecessor opposed throughout anticipated Covid spikes within the coming months, and who to focus on with the booster vaccine rollout this autumn.

Mr Barclay will inherit Mr Javid’s white paper on well being disparities that was on account of be printed subsequent week and was presupposed to set out how England will deal with smoking and weight problems. 


He’s additionally strolling into the position amid a row about woke language making its approach into NHS steerage after a sequence of revelations by MailOnline. Mr Javid had ordered well being service bosses to revert adjustments which eliminated ‘ladies’ or ‘breasts’ from steerage on the menopause, womb most cancers and breastfeeding to be extra inclusive to trans individuals.


The brand new Well being Secretary shall be anticipated to get a grip on the disaster typically follow that has seen thousands and thousands of sufferers wrestle to see a household physician or get an in-person appointment. 

MailOnline’s evaluation of official figures revealed only a quarter of GP appointments in England are face-to-face and with an precise physician.

The remainder are a mix of digital or phone consultations and appointments led by follow nurses, physiotherapists and even acupuncturists.

Affected person rights teams and a few medics have stated the issues in A&E are partly on account of determined sufferers turning up in emergency departments as a result of they will’t entry a health care provider.

Mr Barclay, 50, changed Sajid Javid who stop final month after questioning the Prime Minister’s integrity and suggesting the Authorities was now not ‘competent’ following a string of scandals and controversies.

In his first interview since taking the job, he set out the struggles dealing with the well being service.

He advised The Day by day Telegraph: ‘Now we have very actual challenges coming down the monitor within the autumn and winter, and so far as I’m involved there must be an actual dash inside Whitehall, and notably within the Division of Well being, to prepare for September.

‘A part of my position is to organize for cheap worst case situations. Clearly these pressures can come in numerous kinds. It may be you get a nasty flu, it could be Covid charges are greater than we’d anticipate or like. 

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‘There’s an urgency of now to organize, notably in areas the place there’s an extended lead time. The selections have to occur now, not wait till the autumn — by which period these lead occasions would put the decision at too late a stage.’ 

Highlighting the extent of the challenges dealing with the well being service, Andy Cooke, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, at this time warned that police have been pressured to reply to ambulance callers.

He advised The Unbiased: ‘The ambulance service contacted the police to say “we’ve obtained this coronary heart affected person and we haven’t obtained anybody to ship”.

‘Being first, final and solely resort, the police will go. It’s proper that they did go however that hides the issues we’ve obtained in the remainder of the system.’

One officer, talking anonymously, advised the newspaper his drive was frequently responding to paramedic callers.

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, the nationwide lead for native policing, warned officers are being pressured to sacrifice combating crime and make selections ‘they don’t seem to be greatest positioned to make’.

The police ‘shouldn’t be the service of first resort in these conditions’, she stated.

The Well being Secretary stated he has attended conferences on ‘how we put together for pressures throughout Authorities’ within the winter months, together with a surge in NHS sufferers.

Regardless of the newest Covid wave retreating — with instances plunging by a fifth final week — the NHS is predicted to see one other spike this winter, as Britons spend extra time socialising indoors, the place it’s simpler for the virus to unfold.

Consultants have stated the rise ought to be no worse than earlier waves seen this 12 months, so long as Omicron stays the dominant pressure.

However any enhance in coronavirus hospitalisations would coincide with an anticipated onslaught in flu instances. The seasonal virus retreated over the past two years, as measures introduced in to regulate Covid had knock-on results for different viruses. 

Well being officers have warned of an ‘early influenza wave’ after Australia — which is presently in its winter — suffered an unprecedented early and quick outbreak throughout all age teams.

On high of Covid and flu, the price of dwelling disaster is worsening the general public’s well being. A survey of two,000 Britons earlier this 12 months discovered greater than half reported that their well being had worsened amid spiralling payments. Eight in 10 blamed rising heating prices, whereas three-quarters pointed to hovering meals prices.

And medics have warned that sufferers have been left unable to afford travelling to hospital for very important therapy.

The Well being Secretary additionally set out how selections would come ‘way more shortly’ underneath his management and he would encourage NHS chiefs to take bolder motion to cope with pressures. 

He referred to as for a contemporary recruitment drive of hundreds of overseas medics, particularly from India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines which have extra nurses than they want, within the coming months to satisfy hovering demand. 

The Authorities ought to ‘work at tempo’ to ‘considerably enhance’ the quantity docs from oversees, Mr Barclay stated.

His feedback come amid contemporary concern concerning the UK’s reliance on overseas medics. BBC evaluation of NHS Digital figures present the proportion of NHS medics recruited from overseas almost doubled between 2014 and 2021.

One third of docs recruited by the well being service in 2021 got here from abroad, in comparison with simply 18 per cent in 2014. 

In the meantime, the share of UK docs fell from 69 to 58 per cent between 2015 and 2021, whereas the proportion of British nurses fell from 74 to 61 per cent over the identical interval.

However Mr Barclay referred to as for extra overseas recruits, particularly into social care. He warned ambulance handover delays ‘manifests itself with unmet want in the neighborhood’. 

He has arrange a bunch within the Division of Well being to work ‘at tempo’ to see ‘what’s the scope of the chance’.

These charts, based on NHS workforce data, show the proportion of doctors and nurses joining the NHS in England based on where they originally trained. In both professions the number of UK trained joiners has decreased over time (red lines) whereas the number of non-EU trained professionals has increased (yellow lines). The proportion of EU professionals joining the NHS has declined over time, taking a sharp dive in the years after the 2016  Brexit vote

These charts, primarily based on NHS workforce information, present the proportion of docs and nurses becoming a member of the NHS in England primarily based on the place they initially skilled. In each professions the variety of UK skilled joiners has decreased over time (crimson traces) whereas the variety of non-EU skilled professionals has elevated (yellow traces). The proportion of EU professionals becoming a member of the NHS has declined over time, taking a pointy dive within the years after the 2016  Brexit vote 

This graph shows the country of training of all newly registered nurses and midwives in the UK over the past five years. Unsurprisingly, British trained nurses make the majority with about 120,000 joiners. India (about 21,000), Philippines (nearly 18,000) and Nigeria (nearly 5,000) are the biggest providers of overseas trained nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK

This graph exhibits the nation of coaching of all newly registered nurses and midwives within the UK over the previous 5 years. Unsurprisingly, British skilled nurses make the bulk with about 120,000 joiners. India (about 21,000), Philippines (almost 18,000) and Nigeria (almost 5,000) are the most important suppliers of abroad skilled nurses and midwives registered to work within the UK


Mr Barclay went to Sandhurst navy academy and served within the British Military earlier than learning on the College of Cambridge. He has been the MP for North East Cambridgeshire since 2010.

He took on a sequence of junior frontbench roles the place he grew to become often called a hard-working, loyal and subservient minister.

Mr Barclay was promoted to the Cupboard in 2018 when Theresa Might made him Brexit Secretary — a job he stored even when Mr Johnson took over, in an indication of his flexibility given their vastly completely different views on departing the EU.

He was demoted to No2 within the Treasury, throughout Mr Javid’s closing days in No11, after his Brexit ministerial transient got here to an finish following the UK’s official departure from the EU. 

He moved again to the cupboard 18 months later as Cupboard Workplace minister.

This February, a hasty reshuffle after a string of scandals together with Partygate noticed him appointed Mr Johnson’s chief of employees, which he juggled together with his cupboard position of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster.

The appointment highlighted Mr Johnson’s religion within the former lawyer from Lancashire. 

The title was once known as essentially the most highly effective unelected official within the UK and Mr Barclay was the primary MP to carry the position.

He was a part of a shake-up of No10 geared toward getting ‘grown ups’ within the room and stabilising his boss’s premiership, which in the end failed after the Chris Pincher row.

His promotion to Well being Secretary suggests Mr Johnson’s crew don’t essentially blame him.

He stated ‘considerably’ rising worldwide recruitment is one lever that would deal with the issues.

Mr Barclay added: ‘We don’t need individuals delayed on the ward — that may be a unhealthy final result.

‘An enormous a part of my focus has been giving much more ministerial time to wanting on the points on delayed discharge, on social care recruitment. If there’s stress on the system and that requires extra beds in the neighborhood, these beds want the workforce to go together with them.’

In the meantime, Mr Barclay described his long run imaginative and prescient to ease stress on the well being service.

He referred to as for household docs’ workloads to be lowered — a motive cited by GPs for leaving the career, lowering hours and retiring early. 

Mr Barclay steered that sufferers may e book blood stress checks by means of the NHS app, which might then be carried out by pharmacists.

‘Not every little thing a GP is presently being requested to do must be achieved by a GP,’ he stated.

Rishi Sunak, who’s vying to be the subsequent Prime Minister, final week referred to as for £10 fines for repeat offenders who miss their GP appointments.

In response to the proposal, Mr Barclay stated it’s important to grasp the reason for missed appointments and ‘shine a lightweight on that’. 

The Well being Secretary additionally referred to as for hospitals use new know-how and information to turn into extra environment friendly and eliminate middle-management.

He has already ordered a ‘digital mapping’ of the NHS workforce to identify the place members non-frontline employees are performing the identical duties.

As a substitute, there ought to be a hiring spree of knowledge and software program engineers and ‘fewer individuals filling out spreadsheets and speaking in emails in conventional methods’, Mr Barclay stated.

It comes as Covid instances are quickly collapsing in England. 

Newest estimates from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics present 2.1million individuals have been contaminated on any given day within the week to July 26 (one in 25). This was down 20 per cent on the two.6million logged the earlier week.

Mr Barclay stated he was assured the strictest Covid guidelines — corresponding to ordering companies to shut and folks to remain at dwelling — are confined to the darkest days of the pandemic. Though, he didn’t rule out reintroducing curbs.

He stated: ‘We’ve obtained over 10,000 instances in hospital in the meanwhile, round a 3rd of these are individuals in hospital due to Covid.

‘So there’s nonetheless a major quantity, however it’s summer time and infections are likely to unfold extra clearly in winter.’

Nonetheless, he famous that the vaccine rollout and ‘large quantity of information’ means the UK is in a ‘very completely different state of affairs to when a consideration of lockdowns was going down’.