UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak chaired an emergency meeting with ministers, medics and healthcare professionals to address the healthcare crisis plaguing the country.
The meeting took place at 10 Downing Street on Saturday, aimed at “bringing together the best minds from the health and care sectors to help share knowledge and practical solutions,” the government said.
“As the Prime Minister made clear this week, easing the immediate pressures whilst also focusing on the long-term improvement of the NHS is one of his key promises,” the spokesperson said, according to Guardian.
“We want to correct the unwarranted variation in NHS performance between local areas, because no matter where you live you should be able to access quality healthcare.”
What is ailing UK?
The British health system, which is widely regarded as one of the best healthcare services, has been facing a myriad of pressures, including rising demand for care after pandemic restrictions were eased; a surge in flu and other viruses after two lockdown years; staff shortages from pandemic burnout and a post-Brexit drought of European workers in the UK.
At the moment, thousands of hospital beds are occupied by people who are fit to be discharged but have nowhere to go because of a lack of places for long-term care.
Officials estimate that last week only a third of patients ready to be released from a hospital in England actually left.
UK: Rishi Sunak’s U-turn on outlawing strikes, steps back on anti-strike law
Apart from that, nurses and ambulance staff have been conducting protests over salaries and working conditions, forcing people with health emergencies to wait hours for ambulances to arrive.
Health officials believe that the delays have likely led to hundreds of deaths.
Pat Cullen, the Royal College of Nursing general secretary, urged Sunak to “grasp the nettle and negotiate with nurses” about the settlement in order to avoid the strikes, reports Guardian.
(With inputs from agencies)