Boris Johnson’s government has drafted a former senior military commander to carry out a far-reaching overhaul of leadership in the NHS and social care.
The government claimed that General Sir Gordon Messenger, a former Vice-President of the Defense Staff, would conduct the most far-reaching review of the sector in England that has been seen in 40 years.
The move follows the announcement last month of a £12bn-a-year cash injection to help healthcare take hold after the pandemic, on the eve of the Conservative Party convention in Manchester.
Ministers said they want the former military chief to ensure “every pound of investment is well spent” while driving innovation and more efficient ways of working.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid claimed that Sir Gordon’s efficiency campaign would “help ensure that individuals and families get the care and treatment they need”.
The announcement is designed to reflect key themes of Mr Johnson’s “leveling up” agenda, which is expected to feature heavily at the Tory conference in the coming week.
Michael Gove was made secretary-in-charge of the ministry for beefed-up communities and local government, underscoring its central importance to Mr Johnson’s vision for the future.
But pressure to make the Conservatives a party to the NHS was dealt a blow when the prime minister expressed his displeasure by saying “nothing” about cancer mortality and the recent decline in life expectancy.
Worried about his plans for Britain’s recovery from the Covid crisis, Mr Johnson opted to emphasize economic growth over health measures.
Pointing to the recent increase in pay, he told the BBC: “The most important metric I’ve given you – don’t care about life expectancy, don’t care about cancer outcomes – look at pay increases.”
Labor attacked the remarks, accusing the PM of showing “disgraceful” disregard for the health of British citizens.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth told Granthshala: “Boris Johnson begins his conference with the most chilling words a prime minister has ever said, dismissing the importance of cancer outcomes.”
Meanwhile, Mr Javid risks a dispute with trade unions and care home providers, saying that care home workers who are unprepared to get the Covid jab should “get out and find another job”.
Other storm clouds are looming over the Tory convention – at least in some parts of the country with motorists in the ongoing fuel crisis still facing long queues.
Traders from meat processors to retailers have warned of empty shelves and delays in deliveries unless immigration rules are eased to allow more foreign workers.
Fifteen million households are facing at least a £139 increase in their energy bills as a result of the latest offgame price that went into effect on Friday.
This coincides with the end of the furlough scheme, along with a £20-a-week increase in universal credit payments brought about at the start of the pandemic, which helped protect more than 11 million jobs.
The household budget will be further hit from next April when the national insurance contribution will be increased by 1.25 per cent to pay for the government’s investment in the NHS and social care.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /