Responding to the Prime Minister's speech on 30 June on the Government’s economic recovery plan, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
"What has just been announced is necessary, but not sufficient, and it has a pre-COVID-19 feel about it. We urgently need more capital, and not just in hospitals, and we certainly need to solve social care, but much has changed since these 2019 election pledges were first made.
"Our members are trying to recover from the shock of the virus, which has disrupted just about every service the NHS provides; they are doing this with COVID-19 an ever present danger, and under the threat of local outbreaks and a second surge. So the short-term pressures and danger are very real.
"We want to see much greater commitment to involve local leaders in decisions about their communities, much greater transparency in the use and publication of data, and detailed commitments on how to support health and care services as a key part of the nation’s recovery.
"For now, this must also be about building public confidence and trust, which will require better communication and the rapid development of a test and trace system that is fit for purpose.
"In England, the NHS entered the pandemic with more than 100,000 vacancies and with investment needed in its building, equipment and IT, as well as the dire need for increased long-term funding for social care. The harsh reality is that many of our frontline staff are exhausted, as they attempt to tackle a backlog of care that could take years to clear, while bracing themselves for what is likely to be a difficult winter.
"The NHS and social care must be this Government’s top priority as it attempts to bounce back from the biggest crisis of modern times, and that means recognising the scale of the challenge and putting in place measures that match it. We are not there yet."