UK

Health Secretary to hold discussion with experts on how to cut NHS waiting lists

Health Secretary Steve Barclay speaks to the media (PA)
Health Secretary Steve Barclay speaks to the media (PA) Health Secretary Steve Barclay speaks to the media (PA)

The Health and Social Care Secretary is set to gather ministers, clinical leaders and health experts for the next NHS Recovery Summit in a bid to cut waiting lists and improve care for patients.

Steve Barclay will gather the likes of the chief executive of the NHS, Amanda Pritchard, and NHS England’s national director of transformation, Dr Tim Ferris.

Demonstrations during the day will look to showcase how technology is helping transform the care patients receive and consider how to go further in using new technology to improve access across services, as well as increasing the use of NHS 111 and the NHS App.

The roundtable follows on from the Prime Minister’s NHS Recovery Forum held in Downing Street in January, where he held discussions about a range of measures such as the expansion of virtual wards and greater use of pharmacies to ease pressures on local practices.

NHS 75th anniversary
NHS 75th anniversary The NHS celebrated its 75th birthday on Wednesday (Jeff Moore/PA)

Mr Barclay said: “The NHS is a national treasure and it’s important we take the chance to look at its achievements over the last 75 years, take stock of where we are now and look ahead to where we want to be in the future.

“Today’s summit is about keeping up momentum to recover health and social care services, by bringing together key experts to share knowledge and arrive at solutions to tackle the key challenges facing the NHS and social care, from embracing innovative AI tools to maximising the full potential of the NHS App for patients.

“I’m focused on improving care for patients through the use of technology to diagnose and treat patients more quickly – delivering on the Government’s commitment to cut waiting lists.”

The discussions come the day after Health Minister Maria Caulfield acknowledged the number of people waiting for treatment in England is set to increase.

The Prime Minister made cutting NHS waiting lists in England one of his five key priorities in a speech in January, but latest figures show a record 7.4 million people waiting for treatment, up from 7.2 million at the time of the speech.