New government urged to work with health care bodies to strengthen the NHS

The Doctors Association UK (DAUK) has offered its support to the new Labour Government to strengthen the NHS and serve the health needs of the country.

DAUK’s chair Ms Helen Fernandes said: “We’d like to congratulate Sir Keir Starmer on becoming the new prime minister.

“We’d urge him and his government to engage meaningfully and to work collaboratively with DAUK and other health care bodies to ensure the NHS receives the support it needs.

“The NHS continues to provide excellent care to patients across the country despite it being chronically underfunded for the past decade.

“As a result of that underfunding there are issues regarding pay, working conditions, staff shortages, training, access to jobs, buildings and estates, the list goes on, all of which is causing disquiet and anxiety.

“We’ve set out steps we believe are needed to ease some of the pressures on the NHS and stand ready to engage in productive dialogue and action to achieve these goals.”

We set out our manifesto for general practice last month, here, on the 76th anniversary of the NHS, are the steps for the wider service.

Cross-party collaboration

Take the NHS off the political agenda and make it a cross-party collaboration. This will avoid the inevitable disruptive reorganisations that come with each government. We need stability and not more reform or reorganisation.

NHS workforce

The most valuable resource the NHS service has is its staff, but years of disinvestment, bad planning, poor wellbeing and retention issues have led to a workforce crisis.

Plans to cut NHS waiting lists by asking staff to deliver 40,000 more appointments a week through evening and weekend clinics are undeliverable and will not solve the crisis.

We need investment in staff, better pay, improved working conditions and cutting bureaucracy to free up time with patients.

Social care

Social care remains a major obstacle to healthcare provision in hospitals. Tens of thousands of hospital patients are fit to be discharged but cannot because of a lack of available social care.

Increasingly primary care and even ambulance services are picking up the pieces.

Investment in social care would free up beds, cut backlogs, reduce pressures on primary care, and ensure people are cared for in the correct way.

General practice

Invest £3 per month per head of population to achieve a return to real terms funding last seen in 2015. That’s the equivalent of the price of cup of coffee per month.

Review the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) to allow more flexibility to hire GPs. Currently there’s a shortage of GP roles but a trained and willing workforce, with millions of patients waiting for appointments and GPs overworked.

Aim for ratios of patient to GP full-time equivalent of 1:1600 patients – and even lower in deprived areas – to reduce pressure ensure all patients have equitable access to GPs.

Relieve pressure on GPs by shortening secondary care waiting lists.

Non-doctors

Concerns around the role and regulation of physician associates need to be addressed. Patients are being put at risk by the roll-out of non-doctors and proposals for their regulation is blurring the lines with qualified doctors.

NHS estates

Long-term planning and funding for buildings and estates. A decade of underinvestment has left buildings crumbling. We need room for everyone, including any plan to expand places for healthcare students.

IT infrastructure

Outdated and fragmented IT systems put pressure on frontline medics and keep them from spending more time with patients.

Investment is needed to modernise NHS IT systems and improve efficiency.

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