The Health Secretary claims ‘the NHS can manage’ but bosses have warned the service is in crisis due to a lack of funding, while thousands of staff are off sick due to Covid burnout
Sajid Javid urged patients on growing NHS waiting lists not to go private – while admitting they were set to more than double.
The Health Secretary said of private treatment: “That’s always a choice for people that can afford it, and that’s up to them. But it’s not certainly something I’d be recommending.”
Asked about the NHS’s record 5.6 million waiting list, he claimed: “The NHS can manage.”
And he admitted to the Conservative conference in Manchester today that the NHS waiting list could “grow as high as 13 million” before it started to shrink again.
NHS bosses have warned the service is in crisis due to a lack of funding, while thousands of staff are off sick due to Covid burnout.
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Mr Javid evaded questions about when the pandemic backlog would clear but the Institute for Public Policy Research says clearing the cancer treatment waiting list alone may take 10 years.
Mr Javid also hinted the NHS should be used as a last resort, saying ports of call should be “family first, then community, then the state”. Saying 2022 would be a “year of renewal and reform”, he added that retired general Sir Gordon Messenger would lead a review of health and social care management.
Mr Javid added: “We’ll build a future where our health and social care systems are integrated more seamlessly together.”