'Bold and radical’ action needed to reform healthcare system: UK PM
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds an emergency meeting with health leaders to reform the crisis-hit state healthcare system.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held an emergency meeting on Saturday with health leaders and called for "bold and radical" action to reform the crisis-hit state healthcare system.
The NHS state-funded health service is struggling, after years of underfinancing, to meet the requirements for emergency medical care during a difficult winter with high numbers of Covid-19 and flu cases.
Hospital and ambulance staff have initiated a rare strike action, in the case of the nurses, for the first time in 100 years, with many individuals of the public sympathizing with their cause.
Read: Patients are dying in the UK due to lack of proper care: Report
Nurses are demanding a salary increase to reflect inflation rising beyond 10 percent.
In the meeting, Sunak hosted Chris Witty, England's chief medical officer, and Amanda Pritchard, NHS England's chief executive, at Downing Street, after being accused of inaction.
Today I hosted the NHS Recovery Forum in Downing Street with clinical leaders, health experts and ministers.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) January 7, 2023
We are determined to ease pressure on the NHS, ensure better care for patients and deliver our promise to cut waiting lists ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/0EeiukXRrl
The meeting took place ahead of Monday's scheduled talks between government officials and union leaders to end the strikes.
"During the pandemic we had to bring boldness and radicalism to how we did things in order to get through," Sunak was quoted as saying by Downing Street.
"I think we need that same bold and radical approach now," he said, adding, "Together today, we can figure out the things that will make the biggest difference to the country and everyone's family, in the short and medium term."
In a speech delivered earlier this week, Sunak outlined five priorities for 2023.
“We will halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists, and stop the boats," the Prime Minister said.
The general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing union, Pat Cullen, told BBC radio that she would attend the talks on Monday with Health Minister Steve Barclay.
Sunak should negotiate with nurses directly to prevent planned further strike action on January 18 and 19, Cullen said.
"He needs to come to the negotiation table with me and he needs to put money on that table, and it needs to be about the current year," she told the BBC.
Read: UK loses largest number of working days to strikes since 1990: Reports