Rishi Sunak vows to get a grip on NHS crisis in New Year’s surge
Rishi Sunak will make his first major speech as Prime Minister today, vowing to get a handle on the NHS crisis and show he has a plan to revitalize Britain’s fortunes.
Trying to bounce back in 2023 amid a crippling wave of strikes, Mr Sunak will acknowledge the massive pressure hospitals are facing and set out his comprehensive approach to improving public services.
He will also apply to demonstrate he has a broader vision for Britain’s future, announcing his aspiration that everyone up to the age of 18 can learn math.
The PM has received a glimmer of hope in a new poll. Despite Labor having a stunning 20-point lead overall, the Redfield & Wilton inquiry has found Mr Sunak has overtaken Keir Starmer as the public’s favorite PM.
The Tory leader was the 38 per cent choice compared to 36 per cent for Sir Keir – an obvious sign he is stabilizing the government after the disastrous Liz Truss era.
However, the Conservative infighting that tainted 2022 has already resurfaced, and Ms Truss’ allies have expressed anger at Mr Sunak dropping their proposals for a radical overhaul of childcare.
Mr Sunak will set out his comprehensive approach to removing pressure on healthcare, including a renewed focus on tackling the late discharges that are clogging hospital beds
The PM has received a glimmer of hope in a new poll. Despite Labor having a stunning 20-point lead overall, the Redfield & Wilton inquiry has found Mr Sunak has overtaken Keir Starmer as the public’s favorite PM
In his speech, Mr. Sunak will signal a renewed focus on tackling the delayed discharges that are clogging hospital beds.
He will promise to present an “emergency care recovery plan” later this month, along with a primary care recovery plan to improve access to GPs.
The prime minister will warn that the country cannot afford the double-digit wage increases demanded by militant union leaders and will also confirm plans for “tough” measures to limit strike breaks.
But he will also set out his strategy for building a better Britain, including plans to make math compulsory up to the age of 18 to boost skills and productivity.
He will say the UK is an outlier and it’s time to “rethink our approach to numeracy” – and warns that the current approach to math is “abandoning our children”.
He is expected to say, “This is personal to me. Every opportunity I had in life began with the education I was so fortunate to receive.
“And that’s the main reason why I went into politics: to provide every child with the highest possible standard of education.
“Thanks to the reforms we have introduced since 2010 and the hard work of so many excellent teachers, we have made incredible progress.
“With the right plan – the right commitment to excellence – I see no reason why we can’t compete with the best education systems in the world.”
Mr Sunak will concede that it will take longer for mathematics to be introduced by 18 than the two years that this Parliament has left.
He will emphasize the importance of arithmetic, emphasizing that “our children’s jobs require more analytical skills”.
The Prime Minister will say: “One of the biggest mindset shifts we need in education today is to rethink how we approach numeracy.
“At the moment, only half of all 16 to 19-year-olds study mathematics at all. But in a world where data is everywhere and statistics underpin every job, our kids’ jobs will require more analytical skills than ever before.
“And letting our kids out into the world without those skills is letting our kids down.”
The government does not appear to intend to make the maths baccalaureate compulsory for all 16-year-olds and further details will be finalized in due course.
Ministers are instead looking at existing pathways, such as the core math qualifications and T-levels, as well as more innovative options.
Whitehall sources said the NHS crisis had been high on Mr Sunak’s domestic agenda in recent weeks and he was now involved in intense daily meetings to get “under the hood” of the NHS.
“It’s something he’s going to be very focused on this month and probably next month,” a source said.
The speech comes against the bleak backdrop of troubles in the NHS in the wake of the pandemic. A number of hospital trusts and emergency services have recently reported critical incidents as they struggle to cope with the combination of record backlogs and rising flu and Covid cases.
Some health chiefs have claimed delays are causing an extra 500 deaths a week.
Ambulances wait outside Portsmouth Hospital due to a shortage of rooms as patients wait in vehicles for hours
Downing Street said ministers had been “upfront” to the public that the NHS would face an “extremely challenging winter” after the pandemic.
Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister was “confident” the health service had the resources needed but acknowledged some people would face lengthy delays in receiving treatment.
“We expected backlogs and wait times to increase… we’re seeing that,” the spokesman said.
“We are confident that we are providing the NHS with the resources it needs to resolve these issues,” he added. Asked if the NHS was going through a crisis, he said it was “an unprecedented challenge”.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the government was focused on “getting those people out of hospital who don’t need to be there” to “speed up delays in ambulance handovers”.
Mr. Sunak’s plans will place a large emphasis on improving social care to facilitate the discharge of elderly patients
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