Former military chief enlisted to reshuffle NHS leadership

The ministers recruited a former senior military commander to carry out a major overhaul of leadership in the health and social services sector.

The government has said General Sir Gordon Messenger, former Vice Chief of the Defense Staff, will conduct the most comprehensive review the area has seen in England in 40 years.

The move, on the eve of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, follows last month’s announcement of a £ 12bn a year infusion of funds to help the NHS catch up after the pandemic and to reorganize social care.

The ministers said they wanted to ensure that “every pound of investment is well spent” while reducing regional disparities in health outcomes by stimulating innovation and more efficient ways of working.

General Sir Gordon Messenger will conduct the review (Stefan Rousseau / PA)

The announcement reflects the key themes of Boris Johnson’s ‘upgrade’ program, which is expected to feature prominently over the coming week.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘I am determined to ensure that the NHS and social services are of service to the people of this country for years to come and leadership is so important to this mission .

“We are committed to providing the resources health care and social services need, but that must be accompanied by change for the better.

“This review will spotlight outstanding leaders in health and social services to drive efficiency and innovation.

“This will help ensure that individuals and families get the care and treatment they need, wherever they are in the country, as we build back better. “

The PM is traveling to Manchester backed by opinion polls showing the Tories are still ahead of Labor despite all the struggles of the past year.

Mr Johnson marked his authority over his government with a reshuffle in which underperforming ministers were sacked or demoted while allies were transferred to key positions.

Michael Gove has been appointed upgrading secretary in charge of a strengthened community and local ministry, stressing his central importance to Mr Johnson’s vision for the future.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson heads to Manchester with Tories leading the polls (Victoria Jones / PA)

There are a few storm clouds looming over the conference nonetheless, including the continuing fuel crisis with motorists in parts of the country still facing long lines.

The crisis, sparked by a shortage of tanker drivers, reflects broader warnings of shortages in the economy heading into Christmas due to a lack of skilled labor after Britain pulls out of the EU.

Businesses, from meat processors to retailers, have warned of empty shelves and delivery delays unless immigration rules are relaxed to allow more foreign workers.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a recall of Parliament, thus breaking the Conservative conference, so MPs can rush to pass emergency legislation to ensure enough temporary visas are issued to foreign carriers.

This will be brushed aside by ministers, but they will have a harder time brushing aside concerns from Tory MPs, especially in the ‘red wall’ seats the Tories took from Labor in the last election, about a looming crisis. the cost of living.

Fifteen million homes are facing an increase of at least £ 139 in their energy bills due to the latest Ofgem price that went into effect on Friday.

This coincides with the phasing out of the £ 20 per week increase in Universal Credit (UC) payments, introduced at the start of the pandemic, as well as the end of the leave scheme which has protected more than 11 million people. jobs.

Household budgets will take another blow from next April, when national insurance contributions rise 1.25% to pay for the government’s investment in the NHS and social care.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has sought to address some of the concerns with the announcement of a £ 500million hardship fund providing small grants to vulnerable families for basic items such as food, clothing and utilities public.

However, charities have said it is a “fraction of what is needed” as a result of UC and it remains to be seen how much of this appeases MPs concerned about mounting financial pressures on families.

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