Advocacy and Campaigns December 2021 update
Monday 20 December 2021
Health and Care Bill
The Association, along with over 60 leading healthcare organisations, publicly supported an amendment – tabled by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – to the reforms to (mainly) the NHS in England which would have mandated the Government to commission a assessment of workforce needs every two years. Despite cross-party support, the Government opposed the amendment. As a result, the Association stated publicly: “As it stands, the Government’s alternative plans to reform workforce planning are inadequate. Without regular, comprehensive and independent assessments of the supply and demand of the workforce, we fear staff wellbeing and patient safety will continue to suffer.” The Bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords, where the Association will be making representations along with other organisations to put in place a similar amendment.
The Advocacy and Campaigns team supported members during and following the COP26 climate change conference last month. During the conference, we supported the Association’s President and the Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee in writing to the Minister responsible and released public statements, in which we outlined the need for delegates to ensure that the role the health sector both nationally and globally in achieving net zero ambitions was fully considered during the negotiations. Specifically, we called on Governments to give clinicians additional support to reduce the use of environmentally-harmful desflurane and nitrous oxide, ensure that procurement regimes are created to base contract decisions on a mandatory environment and sustainability weighting, and ensure clinicians are centrally involved in decarbonisation plans at every level. Following the conference, we stated publicly that we welcomed the commitments made at COP by countries, including the UK’s four nations, as part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health Programme, which mandates countries to develop ‘low carbon sustainable health systems’.
New UK Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary
Labour MP Wes Streeting has been appointed as the new Shadow Health Secretary, replacing Jonathan Ashworth, who was appointed Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. The Association has written to Mr Streeting to outline our priorities in workforce and wellbeing, and to request a meeting to discuss these matters further.
The Association is looking to respond to a consultation concerning the NHS pension scheme, along with engaging with Ministers on the issues around unfair taxation with the scheme. Board members are being consulted. We are also looking to respond to the Welsh Senedd’s (Parliament) Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry in to the backlog in care in order to help inform them in their scrutiny of the Welsh Government.
The Association is working with a leading market research and polling company as part of a charitable offer to ask the UK public questions their opinions of topics of our choosing. We asked a wide range of questions, and hope to use the findings in our ongoing advocacy work around the workforce, wellbeing, and environmental sustainability. We will report the findings in due course.
If you are interested to hear more about any of the above pieces of work, or have any questions, please do get in touch with Colton Richards, Advocacy and Campaigns Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org