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New health secretary told to urgently address nursing workforce crisis

Steve Barclay, who takes over after the resignation of Sajid Javid, is told he faces ‘big and pressing challenges’ as nurses await pay award
New health and social care secretary Steve Barclay (right) with his predecessor Sajid Javid

Steve Barclay, who takes over after the resignation of Sajid Javid, is told he faces ‘big and pressing challenges’ as nurses await pay award

The newly appointed health secretary must urgently address the nursing workforce crisis, health leaders warned after Sajid Javid sensationally quit on Tuesday.

Mr Javid thanked NHS and social care staff as he resigned from government yesterday evening, just hours after celebrating the NHS’s 74th birthday.

In his letter of resignation, issued alongside that of chancellor Rishi Sunak, Mr Javid said the British people ‘rightly expect integrity from their government’ but he could no longer ‘in good conscience continue serving in this government’ with Boris Johnson as

Steve Barclay, who takes over after the resignation of Sajid Javid, is told he faces ‘big and pressing challenges’ as nurses await pay award

New health and social care secretary Steve Barclay (right) with his predecessor Sajid Javid
New health and social care secretary Steve Barclay (right) with
his predecessor Sajid Javid Picture: Wikimedia commons

The newly appointed health secretary must urgently address the nursing workforce crisis, health leaders warned after Sajid Javid sensationally quit on Tuesday.

Mr Javid thanked NHS and social care staff as he resigned from government yesterday evening, just hours after celebrating the NHS’s 74th birthday.

In his letter of resignation, issued alongside that of chancellor Rishi Sunak, Mr Javid said the British people ‘rightly expect integrity from their government’ but he could no longer ‘in good conscience continue serving in this government’ with Boris Johnson as leader.

The MP for Bromsgrove, he joined the Department of Health and Social Care in June 2021 after his predecessor Matt Hancock resigned from his Cabinet role for breaking social distancing rules by kissing and embracing an aide in his office.

He has been replaced as health secretary by Steve Barclay, the prime minister’s chief of staff.

Responding to the resignations of Mr Sunak and Mr Javid, RCN council chair Carol Popplestone said: ‘The next NHS pay award is three months late already and the two people responsible have walked out tonight – on the NHS’s 74th birthday.

‘Nursing staff, struggling to pay the bills and going to food banks, will wonder when and if it’s coming.

‘After a decade of pay cuts, this award needs to be a big one, 5% above the level of inflation, to make people feel valued, prevent them from leaving and keep patients safe.’

New health secretary must address several major challenges over the coming weeks

Interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said that she welcomed the rapid appointment of Steve Barclay but he faced several immediate ‘big and pressing challenges’.

She said: ‘Close attention will be paid to how the new health and social care secretary addresses several major challenges over the coming weeks.

‘Top of his in tray must be the serious workforce shortages right across the NHS, with over 105,000 vacancies across the service and the forthcoming NHS pay award, which will be made against the backdrop of a soaring cost of living crisis.

‘And more support must be provided for an underfunded and overstretched social care system to help to ease mounting pressure across the whole health and care system.’


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