A report which called for an integrated recovery plan to help clear the backlog caused by the pandemic has been rejected by the Government. The report, published in December, urged the Government to formulate a broad plan which encompassed elements such as emergency health, primary care, and mental health.
A source of further criticism stems from the Government’s refusal to publish an annual independent assessment of NHS workforce numbers. The Committee has stated that without this critical data it is impossible to know whether enough staff are being trained to support the NHS at this time, and thus whether urgent plans need to be drafted.
Jeremy Hunt, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, has been vocal in his criticism of the Government’s rejection. He stated that “the Government has presented us with a jigsaw of laudable plans and strategies but has failed to produce the overarching vision that would fit those pieces together”.
Furthermore, he accused the Government of presiding over a “real terms decrease” in public health funding and expressed his disappointment that in a time of crisis the Government have not responded to the Committee’s recommendations. He again urged the Secretary of State to be absolutely clear about which recommendations will be ultimately accepted or rejected.
In addition to the aforementioned recommendations, the report also called for the plan to establish what ‘success’ meant for the integrated recovery plan and what care patients could expect in their local areas in future, as well as acknowledging ‘number-chasing’ alone would risk patient safety and deprioritise key services.
The Government have published a comprehensive response to the report, underlining their commitment to aid services in recovering from the pandemic. The full response can be read here.