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NHS saved my life, says Wes Streeting; Pledges to repay debt


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The newly appointed health secretary, Wes Streeting, outlines his mission to save the ‘broken’ NHS

In his first speech as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Wes Streeting MP acknowledged that the NHS is in crisis while outlining his mission to save the health service.

Streeting described the current state of the NHS as “broken,” noting its failure to meet the needs of both patients and dedicated healthcare professionals.

“When we said during the election campaign, that the NHS was going through the biggest crisis in its history, we meant it.

“When we said that patients are being failed on a daily basis, it wasn’t political rhetoric, but the daily reality faced by millions,” he said on Friday (5 July).

The new health secretary remarked that previous governments had been unwilling to admit these simple facts.

He stated that the current government would be honest about the challenges facing the country, and serious about tackling them.

However, he emphasised that to address an issue, one must first understand it.

“But in order to cure an illness, you must first diagnose it,” he said.

The newly appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced that the NHS is now officially recognised as being in a state of disrepair.

“From today, the policy of this department is that the NHS is broken.

“That is the experience of patients who are not receiving the care they deserve, and of the staff working in the NHS who can see that – despite giving their best – this is not good enough,” he said.

Streeting credits the NHS for saving his life during his battle with kidney cancer and has pledged to repay that debt by safeguarding the health service.

“When I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, the NHS saved my life. Today, I can begin to repay that debt, by saving our NHS,” he said in his inaugural address to the nation.

Streeting announced that discussions with the BMA junior doctors committee to resolve their industrial action will commence next week.

“I have just spoken over the phone with the BMA junior doctors committee, and I can announce that talks to end their industrial action will begin next week.

We promised during the campaign that we would begin negotiations as a matter of urgency, and that is what we are doing.”

Streeting emphasised that the Labour government has received a mandate from millions of voters for change and reform of the NHS, so that “it can be there for us when we need it once again.”

However, he acknowledged that achieving this change would take time and a team effort affirming “we never pretended that the NHS could be fixed overnight.”

“It will be the mission of my department, every member of this government, and the 1.4 million people who work in the NHS, to turn our health service around,” Streeting stated.

He remarked that they had accomplished this in the past and expressed confidence that, together with the NHS staff, they could achieve these successes once again.

“We have done this before. When we were last in office, we worked hand in hand with NHS staff to deliver the shortest waits and highest patient satisfaction in history. We did it before, and together, we will do it again.”

As he concluded the speech, he emphasised, “That work begins today.'”




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