Improving wages and fixing social care must be among new health secretary’s priorities

Victoria Atkins will have her work cut out with NHS problems affecting staff and patients

Commenting on the appointment of Victoria Atkins as the new secretary of state for health today (Monday), UNISON acting head of health Helga Pile said:

“Waiting lists and delays to treatment show no signs of abating. Winter is just around the corner and that’s always a challenging time for an NHS that’s both under-funded and thousands of staff short.

“Steve Barclay couldn’t solve the many problems affecting services and patients. The new health secretary has certainly got her work cut out.

“Improving wages across the NHS is a must, so trusts no longer struggle to hold on to experienced staff or to fill vacant posts.

“That means delivering on the commitments already agreed with unions in this year’s pay deal. And getting talks on earnings and staffing in the secretaryof state’s diary at the earliest opportunity.

“Perhaps the biggest challenge though is to start what all her predecessors have failed to do and fix the crisis in social care. Once that begins to be tackled, the pressures on the NHS and its staff will start to lift.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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