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Matt Hancock: 'determined to return commitment put in by staff'

New health and social care secretary commits to championing undervalued staff

New health and social care secretary commits to championing undervalued staff


Matt Hancock. Picture: Shutterstock

The new health and social care secretary has said it's 'heartbreaking' to see how many health and social care staff feel undervalued as he pledged to champion them.

In his first speech since being appointed, Matt Hancock also pledged a £487 million funding package to transform technology in the NHS and ease staff workload.

Addressing staff at West Suffolk Hospital today Mr Hancock said: 'I am determined that the commitment you show to your patients is matched by the commitment we show to you.

'So I have a clear message: I value you. I admire you. I will fight for you and I will champion you.'

'I want to work with everyone across the NHS and social care system to embrace the next generation of technology'

In a speech in which he vowed to drive a change of culture in the NHS and social care sector. Mr Hancock listed technology, the workforce and prevention as his early top priorities.

He said: 'The opportunities of new technology, done right across the whole of health and social care, are vast. Let's work together to seize them.'

Driving a culture change

The £487 million technology funding package  includes

  • Around £412 million to transform technology in hospitals, to improve care and give more patients access to health services at home
  • £75 million for NHS trusts to replace paper systems with electronic ones, in a bid to reduce medication errors

Setting out his vision for the NHS, the former digital, culture, media and sport secretary said: 'In all my experience, the small part is finding or inventing the technology.

'The big part is embedding a culture of always looking for the best possible technology and embracing it. I want to drive that culture change.

'And I want to work with everyone across the NHS and social care system to embrace the next generation of technology.'

The appointment of Mr Hancock, after Jeremy Hunt took up a post in the Foreign Office, comes as the NHS develops a ten year plan for its future.

Prime minister's pledge

Prime minister Theresa May has pledged to boost funding by around £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2024, in the year the health service marks its 70th anniversary.

Mr Hancock said it is important to 'make the most' of the extra cash by keeping people out of hospital.

'We must take a holistic approach to prevention' he said.

'To reduce over prescription of unsophisticated drugs in favour of approaches like social prescribing – addressing someone's physical and mental well-being. To make the investment in primary care and community pharmacies so people don't need to go to hospital.

'To empower people to keep themselves more healthy at home.'

'Let down'

In response, shadow health and social care secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: 'The 4.3 million patients on waiting lists and the nearly 27,000 patients who waited more than 62 days for cancer treatment last year, will feel sorely let down that reducing waiting lists and stamping out rationing isn't the first priority of the new health secretary.'

He added that technology investment was welcome there was a £5 billion repair backlog and commitments to prevention rang 'hollow' without also reversing the substantial cuts to public health budgets.


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