News

PM BoJo turns the heat up on health and social care

Downing Street

On a scorching summers day, Boris Johnson has just delivered his first speech as our new prime minister. Not even The Simpsons predicted that one.

As part of this there was of course a shout out for the NHS, but more surprisingly social care got a nod.

The new PM cryptically said: “We start this week with 20 new hospital upgrades.”

Regarding social care he said: “We will fix the crisis for social care once and for all with a plan we have prepared.”

There have been several predictions made about BoJo’s biggest health and social care challenges, as he replaces Theresa May at No.10. Many of which focus on the money. We’ve captured some of the highlights from two of our favourites.

Health

The Times flags the growing pressures on the health service, in relation to:

  • The impact of a pension row with consultants and surgeons, which is being “blamed for waiting lists reaching a record high, with 4.4 million people waiting for routine operations”.
  • Problems with assessing GP appointments, as “almost 600 surgeries have closed in the last six years as increasing workloads and recruitment difficulties all take their toll” and “almost half of GPs planning to leave or retire in the next five years, it is a problem that can’t be ignored”.

Nick Triggle, BBC health and social care correspondent, was unclear how the “extra £20bn a year by 2023” promised to the NHS will be spent.

He also pointed to Boris Johnson’s lack of health and care experience and that he “had relatively little to say about the NHS during the leadership campaign”.

Although he was reported as saying the NHS is the “crowning glory” of the nation at a private garden party for Conservative party members, but “that in return for the cash injection, reform and greater productivity were needed”.

To which, Nick did acknowledge the thought of another restructure will send shudders down the spines of many in the NHS, with “a 2012 restructure is still fresh in the memory”.

Social care

The Times predicts the reign of Boris will see “a consultation paper on reforms to England’s struggling social care system has been gathering dust for months” as “one of his first acts”.

Although it is not expected that this paper will resolve anything without the much needed money from the Treasury, as they note that “councils spend around £19.4 billion on adult social care but there is further need of around £1.5 billion, and the sums required will grow as the population gets older”.

Mr Triggle also puts a spotlight on social care’s “desperate need of more” money, but states “it is unclear where it will come from”.

He believes that social care is firmly in Boris’s ‘hard-to-do’ in-tray after Brexit. However, he understands our new leader is “sympathetic to the idea of over 40s paying what is effectively an extra tax to fund care for their old age”.

What next?

Only time will tell what will actually happen, but Boris Johnson PM has set out some big aspirations in his first speech and we look forward to seeing what happens next.

We can’t wait to find out who is going to be appointed as Boris’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. The Times’ readers poll currently favours Matt Hancock to remain in post, although our own Rachel Allan voted for Amber Rudd.