NHS can cope with pandemic backlog, says England's Health Secretary

The UK Health Secretary has insisted the NHS can cope with post-pandemic stress when he urged people stuck on waiting lists not to opt for private care.

In an interview with The Guardian, Sajid Javid said he was confident the NHS would be able to clear the patient backlog built up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although he didn’t give a date when the queue could be eased, Mr Javid told the newspaper he wouldn’t advise people to seek private care in order to get faster access to treatment.

He said, “This is always a choice for people who can afford it, and it’s up to them. But it is certainly not something I would recommend to anyone.

“I don’t want a situation where too many people just stop (using the health service) … because I want them to use the NHS. The NHS can manage that. “

His comments come after Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth told the Labor Party conference last week that the pandemic was not the only source of pressure on the NHS as he criticized the Tories’ record in government since 2010.

He told delegates: “An underfunded, understaffed NHS has been marginalized.

“Nobody pretends that the NHS has not been affected by 18 months of Covid. But let’s not pretend that the NHS wasn’t affected by 10 years of Tories before Covid.

“We entered the pandemic with the longest financial bottleneck in the history of the NHS, closing 17,000 beds, crumbling hospitals, slashing public health services, dropping GP numbers, privatizing services, slashing nurse apprenticeships, scouring children’s mental health budgets, thousands waiting longer on cancer treatments ”, the 18-week target has not been achieved for five years, the A&E target has not been achieved for six years.

“So the NHS is not only in crisis because of Covid, the NHS is in crisis because of the conservatives.”

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