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Here’s what Liz Truss becoming Prime Minister could mean for the NHS


Sep 7, 2022

AS Britain’s 56th prime minister Liz Truss has taken office yesterday (Tuesday) after an official audience with the Queen, we look at what this means for the NHS.

Ms Truss, who was born in Oxford, defeated rival Rishi Sunak by 81,326 votes to 60,399 to win the Tory leadership, and will replace Boris Johnson in Number 10 – in her speech just after she was chosen as the new leader she said she would “deliver on the NHS.”

Covid backlogs, record waiting periods in A&E and unprecedented pressures on ambulance services are just some of the challenges in the NHS in England facing the new prime minister.

During the leadership race, she said she agreed on the urgent need to deal with care backlogs, promising to install a “strong” health secretary to solve the issue.

She has also said she is “completely committed” to current Government promises on NHS spending, despite her plans for tax cuts. She has also spoken about changing a “culture” of waste in the NHS.

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Ms Truss will have to oversee the introduction of the new social care system from October 2023, which will see nobody pay more than £86,000 for the personal care they need, while also coping with an ageing population and rising demand.

Ms Truss has promised to reallocate billions of extra funding earmarked for the health service, putting it into social care instead.

She said: “We have people in beds in the NHS who would be better off in social care. So put that money into social care.”

Ms Truss has been an advocate of reforms to the structure of the NHS and in 2011 she supported divisive reforms that abolished Primary Care Trusts and gave more power to GPs.

In fact, she has in the past voted in favour of additional powers for GPs and consistently supported legislation to empower GPs to commission services.

Most recently, she opposed legislation that would have stopped private healthcare providers other than GPs holding positions on Independent Care Boards.

The British Dental Association said that while both Tory leadership contenders had pledged urgent reform of NHS dentistry, it had seen no indication that the Treasury will be mandated to provide the cash needed to rebuild and reform of services

Eddie Crouch, chairman of the association, said: "What we're seeing isn't a recovery, but a service on its last legs.

"The Government will be fooling itself and millions of patients if it attempts to put a gloss on these figures.

"NHS dentistry is lightyears away from where it needs to be. Unless ministers step up and deliver much needed reform and decent funding, this will remain the new normal."

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi