Health workers want respite from “incessant” new Covid-19 hospital admissions, the head of the NHS has said.
Sir Simon Stevens said health staff want to know if there are “reinforcements on the way” amid an “incredibly demanding and continuous” year of pressure.
He was asked if NHS staff in England will receive a financial bonus as a gesture of support after health and social care colleagues in Scotland got a £500 payment in recognition of their work during the pandemic.
Sir Simon told Tuesday’s Downing Street press conference: “What people probably want right now is three things – first of all to be able to look forward to some sort of respite from what has been an incredibly demanding and continuous year of pressure.
“Secondly to know that there are reinforcements on the way, that the staffing pressures in the health service will be taken seriously in the years to come.
“And thirdly to tackle the pressures in the here and now which fundamentally are about reducing the number of new patients who are turning up in A&E severely ill with coronavirus day in day out.
“So it’s that combination I think.
“The sense there will be some respite, the sense the health service will get resilient, staffing support it needs in the years to come, but right now we actually collectively turn off the incessant new admissions that are arriving with very severely ill coronavirus patients.”
Also asked why NHS staff in England have received no financial bonus, Boris Johnson said the health service had seen investment.
The Prime Minister said: “We do our absolute utmost to support our wonderful NHS staff and indeed have had a three-year pay package for nurses, that I think was 12.8%, and will continue to invest record sums in the NHS.
“I think the amount we invested in the NHS even before the pandemic began was more than any time in modern memory, £34 billion package of investment, and that will continue under this Government.”