Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council
‘Sajid Javid has a huge and urgent task ahead. He must ensure completing the roll-out of the adult vaccination programme at rapid pace to control spiralling infection rates. He must also put forward a credible plan to tackle a backlog of care of unprecedented scale whilst at the same time rebuilding the trust of doctors and the wider healthcare workforce.
‘Frontline doctors and other staff have gone above and beyond time and time again over the course of the last 18 months, with many suffering from burnout and mental ill health as a result. The new Secretary of State must show he understands this challenge and must also be willing to listen to the voice of the frontline on the government’s plans for sweeping changes in the running of the NHS in the upcoming Health and Care Bill.
‘It is imperative that doctors are able to take leave, rest and regroup before tackling the biggest waiting list the NHS has ever seen. And we would urge Mr Javid to think again about the Government’s 1% pay proposal which, on top of punitive pension changes, risks driving a generation of senior, experienced doctors into early retirement.
‘Sajid Javid must now show that the Government understands the value of frontline healthcare workers and their critical role in the future of our NHS. We look forward to meeting Mr Javid as soon as possible.’
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of NHS Confederation
‘Health leaders will be pleased the Prime Minister has wasted no time in appointing a new Secretary of State as the NHS continues to fight the many challenges of a global pandemic. Also, they will be encouraged that the role has gone to someone who, as a former Chancellor, should know the Treasury inside out. It is imperative that Sajid Javid uses these connections to ensure the NHS gets the investment it desperately needs, alongside delivering long-term reform for social care.
‘With Covid-19 cases on the rise again, more than five million people waiting for elective treatment, primary, ambulance, community and mental health care services seeing increased and more complex demand, and staff on the verge of burnout, we will need a Secretary of State who can adeptly lead and support the NHS’s recovery.
‘Also, with new legislation for health and care on its way, Mr Javid will need to ensure momentum is not lost, particularly given that this legislation may see his role take on greater responsibility over the NHS, alongside working with a new chief executive of NHS England.
‘We are ready to engage Mr Javid on these priorities and we look forward to working with him.
Dr Rosie Shire, GP advisor at the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK)
‘At DAUK we are very disappointed that Matt Hancock has not followed the social distancing rules like he expected everyone else to do.
‘Unfortunately this activity occurring during work hours in the Department of Health would suggest that health secretary does not appreciate the gravity of the situation that frontline has faced over the last year and a half. We have seen with his responses regarding PPE shortages that he is not in touch with those on the ground, who actually experienced the lack of PPE.
‘Pressures are ongoing on the health service throughout with GP departments, emergency departments and specialities up and down the country struggling to manage the backlogs and issues created by the pandemic. The NHS and the public deserve a health secretary concentrating on these issues. The personal aspect of this is for the two respective families to work through.’
Dr Ketan Bhatt, GP partner in Watford
‘With the appointment of a new health secretary, in view of the history of this government, no doubt judgement will be reserved for now. There is a lot to resolve, but the answer is so simple – work with NHS, not against it.
‘Communication is key- don’t make changes public in national papers without allowing NHSE to inform us to allow time for to react accordingly for our patients. Be inclusive, and you will find that primary care will go above and beyond for the cause.’
Dr Dean Eggitt, chief executive of Doncaster LMC
‘I very much welcome Sajid Javid to the role of SoSHSC. As ex-Chancellor, he is equipped with the skills and knowledge to fight the corner of the NHS and ensure that we receive the resources we need to revive our failing system.
‘In the short term, he needs to create positive relationships with those who understand the current pressures on the system and switch off any expectation that goes beyond establishing stability right now. Once we have created stability we can get back to the business of planning system improvements.’
Dr Irfan Malik, GP partner in Nottingham
‘I am happy with Sajid Javid’s appointment as health secretary. He is a hardworking, honest, reliable politician who will get the job done properly.
‘I have faith that he is the person to get us out of the crisis facing the NHS at present. I hope he will be able to engage more with grassroots GPs and get a view from the coalface of primary care.’
Dr Kailash Chand OBE, retired GP and honorary vice president of the BMA
‘The badly timed NHS legislation need to be halted immediately. Sajid Javid must also speak to the BMA/GPC with a credible plan to tackle a backlog of care of humungous scale.
‘GPs need to be assured of their vital role in any future reforms of the NHS!
‘Knowledge, experience and actions without virtues are dangerous and useless!’
Dr Simon Hodes, GP partner in Watford
‘I would wish Sajid Javid the best of luck in his new role – he must have one of the busiest inboxes of any health secretary in history. Am sure he is surrounded by an expert team, and will listen to their advice. I would urge him to spend some time visiting social care, hospital and community settings, to listen to the reality of what is going on at the coal face. This should include porters, lab teams, carers and patient groups as well as the clinicians.
‘From a community perspective, I would really like him to appreciate the genuine crisis in general practice and for him to appreciate the essential role that GP teams play as gatekeepers to the NHS.
‘We’re seeing a concerning overspill into adult and paediatric emergency departments already. We really need to strengthen primary care, because, (as is stated on NHS England website), “general practice is undeniably the bedrock of NHS care. So if general practice fails, the NHS fails”.’
Dr Katie Musgrave, GP in Plymouth
‘My overwhelming response is one of relief. The UK desperately needs to get society, the economy and the health service back to full working order. The paralysis we have shown in response to one respiratory virus is dangerous and short-sighted, and Sajid Javid is an experienced cabinet minister who shows signs of recognising the wider social and economic impacts of lockdowns on our patients and society.
‘He will do well to listen to the views of general practitioners and must invest heavily in primary care and social care, if he wants to prepare the country for the health challenges we face over the coming decade.’
Dr Dave Triska, GP partner in Surrey
‘I’d be delighted if just once, a minister with extensive experience in health and social care was appointed to one of the most important cabinet positions – learning on the job seems a poor choice at the moment.’
More to follow