The Patients Association
PO Box 935
020 8423 9111

The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street
London, SW1H 0EU

6th January 2023

Dear Secretary of State

You will certainly be aware of the disaster unfolding in NHS. You will have seen, as we have, report after report of hospitals declaring critical incidents, patients treated in hospital corridors, patients left in pain and distress on the floor at home, and the excess deaths that the Office of National Statistics and the Royal College of Emergency Medicine are reporting.

This level of crisis in the NHS is a serious threat to patient safety and it is clear lives are being lost as a result. What we are witnessing across the NHS is the Mid-Staffs scandal playing out on a national level, if not worse.

The crisis across the UK in A&E departments needs fixing now as a matter of urgency.

Therefore, the Patients Association calls on the Government to show clear leadership and declare a national incident in the NHS, with clearly communicated plans that protect patient safety and reduce the number of excess deaths related to the crisis.

The Government also needs to take action to prevent the NHS ever again experiencing this sort of crisis. The Government must publish the long-term workforce plan for the health and social care system that we have been waiting for.

You are in a position where you can take both immediate and long term action to improve the situation. There is no shortage of ideas about how to mitigate against some of the worst cases of terrible care resulting from under-funding, exhausted staff, high numbers of unfilled posts, and ever-growing waiting lists.

The development of any solutions must involve patients and carers. Their voice must be heard as it is patients who are experiencing undignified care and dying because of this crisis. We would be keen to work with the Department and NHS to facilitate the involvement of patients and carers in the development of plans.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely

Sir Robert Francis             Rachel Power,
                                            Chief Executive, the Patients Association