The new Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey reiterated the government’s planned support for the NHS during her speech at the Conservative party conference underway in Birmingham.
The so-called ‘ABCD’ plan, which Coffey joked was not a revelation of her A-Level grades, stands for ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists. These are what the government say their main focus needs to be in order to end the NHS crisis.
Coffey said that this plan “places an emphasis on primary care, the gateway to the NHS for most people” and that is demonstrates the government’s commitment to delivering what patients need the most.
The health secretary said that wait times had worsened as a result of the pandemic, and that owing to the backlog, we should expect to see the numbers “get worse before they get better”.
In order to help decrease urgent ambulance wait times, the health secretary said, “we are increasing the number of 999 call handlers” and focusing on “getting ambulances back on the road”.
Whilst she said the government plan to free up around 7,000 hospital bed spaces, Coffey also said it is important that patients are treated at home or in care homes where possible and effective.