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Readers’ panel: What should the new health and social care secretary prioritise?

Nursing Standard readers have their say on what Matt Hancock should focus on 

New health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, who was appointed this month to replace Jeremy Hunt, has vowed to transform technology in the NHS and drive culture change within the health and social care sectors. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock. Picture: Alamy


Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

A fresh pair of eyes and a new relationship have potential for good if the priorities of those involved are the same or similar. Mr Hancock has acknowledged that NHS staff feel undervalued, and that the NHS needs modernising, which I agree with. I would like to see a more inclusive platform for healthcare professionals to have input into government policy; we are a rich resource at his disposal, and listening to our views and expertise should be a priority.

Drew Payne (@drew_london) is a community staff nurse in north London

I welcome Mr Hancock’s focus on technology as the NHS urgently needs a decent, joined-up IT system where information can be shared and stored safely. But moving more care into the community and addressing the ongoing winter crises – which are happening so often they are becoming a Christmas tradition – have to be top priorities. This means listening to NHS staff who experience the daily pressures and rewards of working in the health service, and who know what works and what doesn’t. 

Clare Donaldson is a practice nurse prescriber in Cheshire 

Mr Hancock needs to prioritise listening to healthcare professionals, and ensure that health and social care services are firmly integrated around the needs of individuals. Patients don’t want health or social care, they simply want care. A truly integrated care system involves working beyond our organisational boundaries to improve services. Coordination between the fragmented parts of the system will improve efficiency and bring financial benefits. More importantly, it will make a real difference to older people and those living with long-term conditions.

Liz Charalambous (@lizcharalambou) is a staff nurse and PhD student in Nottingham

Health and social care must be depoliticised and long-term strategies devised that recognise how social determinants, such as housing, employment and the environment, can affect health. The bursary should be brought back with immediate effect to encourage people into nursing, and, given the forecasted increase in the number of people who will develop dementia, we need better support for those living with the condition and their families. But in view of this government’s previous track record, I remain pessimistic. 

Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 

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