NHS chief sets out blueprint for ‘bold and broad reforms’

Foreign NHS workers must be given early assurances that they remain welcome in Britain, the head of the service in England has said. Alongside that, apprenticeships should be used to reach “left-behind” communities in Britain, said Simon Stevens.

Setting out a “radical blueprint” for NHS reform as a new prime minister takes over in Westminster, Stevens recommended tackling health inequalities, overhauling the way people access their healthcare and improving the service’s infrastructure, as well as changing the way social care is funded as areas to focus on.

And he said that the NHS needs to do a “better job training and looking after our own staff”. He said: “New apprenticeships can help many ‘left-behind’ communities alienated from modern Britain.

“Even then we’re still going to need committed professionals from abroad. Australian-style immigration points systems all admit nurses, doctors and other skilled experts. It should be completely uncontroversial to provide early reassurance to international NHS employees about their continued welcome in this country.”

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Stevens said: “The need for radical change is now. We know what needs doing. Let’s get on with it.”

He wrote that, while the NHS was not on the Brexit ballot, “it often felt as if it was” and called on new prime minister Theresa May to use the referendum – which he believes united the country behind the NHS – to put it on a more sound footing with “bold and broad reforms”.

Full story in The Guardian 20 July 2016