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A Letter from Jeremy Hunt, The Secretary of State for Health

Sarah J

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The Secretary of State for Health says his mission is to support NHS staff in delivering the safest and highest quality care in the world.

When I was first made Health Secretary I said it was the biggest privilege of my life, and so it has proved. What I didn’t realise then was that it would also become my biggest passion – working in health is not just a job but a vocation.

The election period reinforced more acutely than ever the incredible work of the NHS, particularly the way staff dealt first with the global cyber-attack and then with horrendous terror attacks in Manchester and London.

After the Manchester bombing I met nurses caring for bereaved families with incredible compassion, whilst in London I heard stories of doctors who cycled the length of the city at 2am just because they wanted to help.

These stories speak to a wider truth: NHS staff do an amazing job, often in the most difficult of circumstances. And it is this which brings us all together – our great belief in the NHS, what it stands for and what we believe it can be.

Your compassion, energy, dynamism and total dedication, day in, day out, are truly humbling.

When I look at what the NHS has achieved in recent years, I think you can feel very proud. Despite the financial crash and ensuing period of constrained budgets, today’s NHS has some of its highest ever satisfaction ratings, carries out 5,000 more operations a day, has lower MRSA rates than France, Germany or Spain, and sees its highest ever survival rates for cancer, heart attacks and stroke.

One of the biggest expansions of mental health provision in Europe is underway right here, and there’s been a transformation in attitudes towards patient safety in the wake of Mid-Staffs. These achievements simply wouldn’t have been possible without you, our world-class doctors, nurses, paramedics and everyone else who works every day, across the country, to make the NHS the best it can be.

I am proud that this country was the first to say that no one – rich or poor, young or old – should have to worry about affording good healthcare. Indeed we have made this pledge central to how people right across the world define a civilised nation.

Going forwards, we must continue to focus not just on equity but also on excellence. We need to continue our work on patient safety, continue the transformation of mental health, continue developing new models of care and continue to put as much energy into prevention as into cure.

That’s my mission – to support the NHS to become the safest, highest quality health system in the world.

This is not to ignore the fact that difficult issues lie ahead. Money is always going to be a pressure, for instance. But I am confident that, working together, we can unite the whole NHS to deliver the safest, highest quality care anywhere in the world.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your hard work to make this vision a reality.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. REVA HUFF

    23rd June 2017 at 12:02 pm

    If only we had a secretary of state with compassion and total dedication to the NHS, instead we have one who appears to have no compassion to the workforce, empty words mean nothing, with a overwhelming desire to privatise as much of the NHS that he can

  2. marianne

    23rd June 2017 at 2:08 pm

    “Trust” and “Jeremy Hunt” cannot be used in the same sentence……..

  3. Barbara

    24th June 2017 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for those warm words Mr H. I hope writing them has moved you to consider funding the NHS properly, stop selling off chunks of it to your mates so they can convert taxpayers money into shareholder dividends and stop blaming the aging population for limiting the profits those global corporations can manage to divert from clinical provision. I note that your vision for the future, which involves us NHS staff continuing to work on your behalf to achieve improved patient safety, the transformation of mental health, the development of new models of care and continuing to put our energy into prevention as into cure, doesn’t mention the any review of salaries for those staff involved. After many years (too many for me to be able to remember exactly how long) many of those compassionate, energetic, dynamic and dedicated staff now struggle to pay housing costs, provide for their families and pay their bills. Many have been forced to take second jobs to make ends meet, so we would appreciate a further statement from the DoH indicating a pay structure that properly reflects those qualities, skills and expertise that you admire so much.

  4. Susie

    24th June 2017 at 1:24 pm

    White man speaks with fork tongue !! More lies !

  5. Yvonne Rutherford

    2nd July 2017 at 8:02 am

    Liar Liar pants on fire… another service paycapped! Actions speak louder than words, stop your self serving government giving each other rises and pay it to the real people that matter instead!!!!

  6. Yvonne Rutherford

    2nd July 2017 at 8:02 am

    Liar Liar pants on fire… another service paycapped! Actions speak louder than words, stop your self serving government giving each other rises and pay it to the real people that matter instead!!!!

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£13 million funding to help hospital A&Es prepare for winter

Sarah J

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The Department of Health has announced 19 hospitals in England will benefit from extra funding for emergency care over winter.

Following a plea for funding from NHS Providers, the association that represents healthcare trusts, the Department of Health (DoH) has announced it will provide additional funding to nineteen NHS hospitals in England.

The 19 hospitals across England will be given a cash injection of over £13 million for emergency care, in the latest wave of winter funding announced today by Health Minister Philip Dunne.

Around £13 million has been awarded to improve patient flow through A&E, ensuring departments are prepared for busy times during winter. The additional funding brings the total given to hospitals since April to over £90 million, part of the dedicated funding announced in the Spring Budget.

Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne said:

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff, the NHS has put in place strong plans ahead of winter – ensuring patients continue to receive safe and efficient care as demand rises over the coming months.

This funding will give more hospitals the boost they need to streamline patient flow in A&E, freeing up A&Es to care for the sickest patients and helping make sure all patients get the right treatment in the right place as quickly as possible”.

The funding will be used to help hospitals finalise preparations ahead of winter, particularly to handle the large volumes of patients attending A&E. By investing in the necessary equipment or infrastructure, hospitals will be able to target improvements to patient flow and relieve pressure on A&E.

The funding supports NHS England’s wider plans to improve A&E performance in England by 2018. In particular, it will help hospitals hit the target of admitting, transferring or discharging 95% of patients within 4 hours.

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New guidance for ‘acid attack’ victims following recent rise in attacks

Nursing Notes

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The NHS and leading burns surgeons are today issuing new first aid guidance to help ensure victims of acid attacks get the right help fast.

The assistance for victims comes as new data from NHS England show the number of people requiring specialist medical help for this type of assault is on the rise. In 2014, 16 people required specialist medical advice, rising to 25 in 2015 and increasing further to 32 last year. The level of demand for specialist burns help so far in 2017 suggests there will be another rise in patient numbers this year.

So-called ‘acid attacks’, where corrosive substances are used as part of a violent assault or robbery, have become increasingly prominent, with a series of high-profile incidents this year. As well as the significant harm caused to individuals, the NHS estimates that the average cost of care for a victim requiring specialist burns treatment, eye care, rehabilitation and mental health treatment is £34,500.

NHS England, in partnership with the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) is today publishing new advice for anyone falling victim to acid attacks, including new online guidance and support to victims as well as friends or family of people affected by burns. The guidance – Report, Remove, Rinse – has been developed with specialist BAPRAS burns and trauma surgeons, who have treated victims of these attacks.

Whilst the overall number of people impacted by this type of attack remains low, people are advised to take three simple steps in the event they witness or are victim of an attack:

  • Report the attack: dial 999.
  • Remove contaminated clothing carefully.
  • Rinse skin immediately in running water.

A burns unit serving patients from London and the South East, has seen a substantial increase in the number of people it has helped this year who have been affected by this type of assault. In 2016 the St Andrew’s Burns Centre saw 20 people who required admission because of the most serious effects of acid or corrosive burns, a similar number who were treated there over the previous 15 years. The Centre is on course to deliver help to over 30 people in 2017.

People assaulted with corrosive substances like acid are likely to need a range of different care after the emergency response. This could include therapy, specialist burns treatment, and in some instances eye or plastic and reconstructive surgery. This new guidance for victims published today is designed to help people to understand easily what help is available from the NHS. The guidance also offers help to victims’ relatives, who can help people cope with the trauma which can follow an attack.

Professor Chris Moran, National Clinical Director for Trauma at NHS England, said:

“Whilst this type of criminal assault remains rare, the NHS is caring for an increasing number of people who have fallen victim to these cowardly attacks.

“One moment of thoughtless violence can result in serious physical pain and mental trauma, which can involve months if not years of costly and specialist NHS treatment.

“So-called acid attacks are medical emergencies and people should immediately dial 999. We are issuing guidance today that sets out clearly and simply how people can help themselves and others in response to attacks. Our guidance will outline what first steps to take in the event of an attack in those crucial minutes before professional clinical help arrives on the scene.”

Whilst making this advice available to the public, NHS England have also partnered with a number of organisations, including police forces, ambulance services and the Royal College of Surgeons to ensure this advice is shared with front-line public service people who are often first on the scene.

Guidance is also available on the NHS Choices website.

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