Government to meet with health experts to discuss NHS winter plans

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay is to host a round table with the Prime Minister and clinical leader to discuss ways to mitigate winter pressures improve performance and drive forward planning to ease pressures on the NHS this winter.

The meeting is to be attended by NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard, national medical director, Stephen Powis, national clinical director for urgent and emergency care, Julian Redhead and chief nursing officer, Ruth May. Chairs of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health will also be in attendance, alongside representatives of community health services in England.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "This year we started planning for winter earlier than before. We invested in more beds, ambulances and discharge lounges through our Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan, and we’re freeing up 15 million GP appointments through our Primary Care Recovery Plan.

"To drive forward that progress, today we’re bringing together the best minds in healthcare who all have one shared aim – protecting patients and making sure they get the care they need this winter.

Health and social care secretary, Steve Barclay said: "Winter is always an extremely busy period and we’re working across the NHS to make services more resilient, ensuring those who most need help and support will get the care they need.

"I’m working closely with NHS and social care leaders to provide additional hospital capacity, protect emergency care and harness the full potential of technology to deliver the best possible service and intensify our efforts to tackle waiting lists."

Sarah-Jane Marsh, NHS national director of urgent and emergency care, said: "The forthcoming winter will be another challenging one for health and social care, which is why teams across the NHS have been planning for this busy period since the start of summer, including getting more ambulances on the road and putting more hospital and virtual ward beds in place as part of our Urgent and Emergency Care recovery Plan.

"Thanks to the actions taken, waiting times for ambulances and A&E services are lower compared to last year and the public can play their part over winter by accessing services in line with their needs – using primary care, pharmacy and 111 online or 999 in an emergency."