'We have a workforce crisis' - Healthwatch Norfolk letter to Sajid Javid

Healthwatch Norfolk Chairman, Bill Armstrong, hands over to new chairman, David Edwards (pictured).

David Edwards OBE, chair of Healthwatch Norfolk, has written an open letter to Sajid Javid. - Credit: Archant

The chair of the region's health watchdog has written to the new health secretary to call for necessary funding amid the current "workforce crisis". 

David Edwards, chair of Healthwatch Norfolk, has sent an open letter to Sajid Javid, who was appointed on Saturday following Matt Hancock's resignation.

Mr Edwards said the letter stood back from local issues to call on the government to address the chronic underfunding of health and social care.

The chair said: "I am really worried that, because of the pandemic and the deficit the country has run up, we will not be able to allocate the necessary funding for health and social care.

Sajid Javid, communities secretary breaks his silence. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Sajid Javid, communities secretary breaks his silence. Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire - Credit: PA

"In Healthwatch we see it every day people are struggling to access services and people are struggling to get services that are joined up."

It came after this paper issued its wish list to the health secretary  and community campaigners urged him to visit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, which is crumbling.

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Mr Edwards wrote: "I want you in addition to address the following urgent and important priorities on behalf of the people we both serve: 

- Appoint another first class NHS leader to replace Sir Simon Stevens.

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- Address the chronic underfunding of Health and Social Care. It is a National disgrace that as one of the richest countries we still fail to support these fundamental services. This particularly in comparison with the rest of Europe and Scandinavia.

- We have a workforce crisis in terms of both recruitment and retention of staff. The brilliance ,selfless dedication and skill of staff has been in sharp focus during the pandemic not that I am surprised about this. Increase further the training places and practical placement opportunities so we have an implementable workforce plan that defies political short “termism”.

- Get the Health and Social Care Bill through Parliament quickly so that the principles of partnership and  collaboration enshrined in the Integrated Care System can be further embedded.

He concluded: "Our public deserve joined-up services and don’t recognise organisational or service boundaries, which is where services can and do break down." 

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