NHS Confederation responds to announcement of Therese Coffey as secretary of state for health and social care

Matthew Taylor congratulates Therese Coffey on her appointment as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and sets out priorities for the NHS.

6 September 2022

Responding to the appointment of Therese Coffey as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor said:

 “We congratulate Rt Hon Therese Coffey on her appointment as the new Secretary of State for health and social care. Having gone through four health secretaries over the last five years, health leaders will hope this will signal a period of stability in this office and a razor sharp focus on the challenges facing the NHS. 

 “Our new Prime Minister has set out the NHS as one of her top three priorities and so, alongside the coupling of the health secretary post with the deputy prime minister position, all eyes will be on whether we have a Government that finally delivers for the NHS and the communities it serves.

 “This is crucial because our 23rd health secretary has inherited an NHS and social care system in a worst state than in living memory. 

 “GP appointments, cancer treatments, and diagnostic tests are all above pre-pandemic levels, and patients who had waited the longest for an elective procedure have now received one. However, demand for frontline care is through the roof, waiting time standards are deteriorating despite the heroic efforts of its staff, and winter seems set to be the busiest on record. 

 “These concerns are made significantly more worrying by the cost-of-living crisis and so, like the rest of the country we are eager to understand the detail of the Government’s promised intervention this week.

 “Immediate support is needed for the NHS but with over 130,000 vacancies and a real-terms funding cut that could stretch to £9.4bn this year, there is no quick or easy way out of these deep-rooted problems. 

 “Health leaders need a Government that is ready to listen and ready to act for the long term. We will not have an NHS that is fit for the future without investment in capital, in its workforce, and in our broken social care system. There is no time to delay.”