The Independent View

After the trauma of Covid and strikes, the NHS finally has reason to think positively about its future

Editorial: It’s heartening to see a Conservative government – led by an enthusiastic free marketeer – treat the NHS like it actually has a long-term future

Friday 30 June 2023 19:59 BST
(Dave Brown)

On 5 July, Britain’s National Health Service celebrates its 75th birthday. Remarkably, in all that time, it has never, until now, had a long-term workforce plan, which is quite the delay even by current health service standards. With a 15-year timescale, it should see the NHS well on its way to its centenary celebrations in 2048. That is something to cheer the spirit, even in these straitened times.

Wisely, Rishi Sunak chose to downplay the politics and launch this extremely welcome (if historically delayed) initiative flanked by two senior NHS executives: Stephen Powis (the national clinical director of pandemic fame) and Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England.

Their presence was reassuring, because it confirmed that this wasn’t some sloganeering piece of spin patched together by spads in Downing Street or the Treasury, but rather a document that has been created by trusted NHS staff themselves. That’s good to know.

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