After being introduced by Niall Dickson as ‘something of a survivor,’ Jeremy Hunt took to the stage on day two of Confed17 to give his thanks and praise to the NHS, its staff and its leaders, and to set out some of the new government’s priorities for the NHS.
Echoing the praise given by many speakers at Confed17 for the staff involved in treating the victims of the recent terror attacks, Mr Hunt went on to recognise the work of bereavement counsellors and pathologists in mortuaries in the aftermath of the attacks.
He reiterated his ‘simple, abiding desire’ to focus on ensuring the safest and highest quality care – something he acknowledged has been challenging in recent years, but has been exemplified in trusts such as Morecambe Bay and Leeds, which have recently moved out of special measures.
Thanking NHS leaders for ‘stepping up to the plate’ in what he described as one of the most difficult jobs in the world, Mr Hunt went on to thank NHS staff and stated that the support and welfare of staff is a central government priority. Other immediate priorities he highlighted are:
- The status of EU nationals in health and care system.
- Staff retention levels
- Mental health support
- Workforce shortages and gaps
Looking ahead for the next 12 months, the government’s priorities include:
- Continuing progress to turn around performance
- Achieving financial balance
- Continued focus on transforming mental health
- Continued focus on safety improvements
Mr Hunt expressed his belief that delivering on these priorities, through the Five Year Forward View, could deliver the biggest transformation to integrated care and prevention in the western world.
He reiterated the government’s support of the Five Year Forward View and said both himself and the chancellor agree the need to be ‘nimble, smart and determined’ in order to achieve it.
Challenging questions followed on pay restraint, regulation, whistleblowing, capital funding, community pharmacy and the dementia tax.
To see the Jeremy Hunt’s speech in full, including his responses to audience questions, go to our watch again web page