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NHS needs much better treatment

While Boris Johnson creates a splash in Westminster, what will determine the Government’s fortunes is the basics.

Is the economy growing? Is inflation under control? And can people get a medical appointment on the NHS in a reasonable length of time?

That last metric has been heavily affected by the pandemic, which sent waiting lists spiralling; other European countries have also had problems, and these will ease over time.

But the NHS has its own more specific problems, above all a shortfall of staff which means that no matter how many whizzy new hospitals get built, there are not enough people to staff them.

The Government has made good progress in its ambition to recruit 50,000 more nurses. But more is needed.

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NHS set to be given money to hire extra doctors and nurses this summer after repeated delays

During his time on the back benches, Jeremy Hunt became Parliament’s most vocal advocate of a long-term strategy to boost the NHS workforce. He now has the power to make it happen.

The Chancellor has promised to commit the billions of pounds needed to ramp up the number of training places available for medics and strengthen the pipeline of staff entering the health service.

This plan has been repeatedly delayed, but is finally set to be unveiled in the coming weeks to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the NHS. It will be not a moment too soon.

The money must be backed by proper reforms. The health service has a reputation as a funding black hole, which sucks up more and more without tangible gains to show for it.

We can only hope that all this time has been spent rethinking how a modern medical workforce should look.

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