Barclay sets out priorities at NHS Providers conference

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay has delivered a speech at the NHS Providers Conference in Liverpool.

He began by commenting on the high turnover in the role and outlined his credentials.

He also mentioned the anticipated autumn statement and said that he has spoken to the Chancellor about the challenges facing the health service.

Barclay said: "In these difficult times, I am extremely keen to work with you on identifying all the practical measures that we can put in place to support the NHS and care workforce."

In laying out his priorities, Barclay said that supporting the workforce is his top priority.

Pointing out that this is likely to be the hardest winter ever for the NHS, Barclay highlighted the threats of Covid and flu and energy and cost-of-living pressures.

He spoke of the commitment to recruit 50,000 more nurses and to get more staff on NHS 111 and 999.

Barclay's second priority is a recovery plan. He announced the appointment of Professor Sir Tim Briggs as clinical lead for the elective recovery and Sarah-Jane Marsh as national director for urgent and emergency care.

Barclay also shared details of the £500 million Adult Social Care Discharge Fund, which will be provided to ICBs and local authorities.

He also mentioned pay, saying: "I’d like to touch briefly on pay, which I know is an important issue for your teams.

"As in all sectors, pay is a central issue, particularly given the wider cost of living pressures.

"I am keen to work constructively with trade union colleagues.

"Last week, I met representatives from the Royal College of Nursing and yesterday I held a roundtable with a wide range of trade unions – discussing the issues that they have raised on patient safety, non-pay benefits, and of course pay itself.

"But I do not think it is realistic that increases should be three times the amount paid to those outside the public sector.

"And the £9 billion cost this would entail would impact other important areas of spend, such as buildings and technology, which are also important to staff."

Among Barclay's other priorities are GP access, technology, the NHS estate, patient data.

Barclay finished by saying: "Thank you once again for everything that you do.

"I’m very much looking forward in this role to working with you all to build a more resilient, healthier NHS for the long-term, so that collectively we can give the security to the people we represent of knowing it will be there for them when they need it.

"Thank you very much."

Image: Richard Townshend /

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