Sajid Javid: Health and social care 'begins at home' not with government

5 October 2021, 18:43 | Updated: 5 October 2021, 19:23

Sajid Javid made the comment during his speech at the Tory conference.
Sajid Javid made the comment during his speech at the Tory conference. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Sajid Javid has said health and social care "begins at home" as he announced plans to make 2022 the year of "renewal and reform".

The Health Secretary called on the public to step up during his speech at the Tory conference on Tuesday, saying citizens "have to take some responsibility".

Before turning to the State, people should rely on family and their community for support, he said.

Mr Javid explained: "The State was needed in this pandemic more than any time in peacetime. But Government shouldn't own all risks and responsibilities in life.

"We as citizens have to take some responsibility for our health too.

"We shouldn't always go first to the State. What kind of society would that be?

"Health - and social care - begins at home. Family first, then community, then the State.

"If you do need support, we live in a compassionate, developed country that can afford to help with that."

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His comments came as he laid out plans for getting the country out of the pandemic.

Mr Javid said: "My priorities are simple: Covid, recovery, reform.

"Covid - getting us, and keeping us, out of the pandemic.

"Recovery - tackling the huge backlog of appointments it has caused.

"And reform of our health and social care systems for the long-term."

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He said the public "rightly and proudly" expect a service that is free at the point of use, but also said people expect the health service to deliver for them.

"They expect to be able to see their GP in the way that they choose, and to have a relationship with that service that goes beyond picking up the pieces when things go wrong," he said.

However, Mr Javid highlighted that the biggest issue he faced was the growing NHS waiting list.

"There was no doubt about the biggest item that was spilling out of my in-tray," he said.

"An NHS waiting list that will get worse before it gets better, that was projected to grow as high as 13 million. No Government, no health secretary, no society, can accept that.

"That's why we have prioritised elective recovery, check-ups, scans, surgeries, with the biggest catch-up fund in the history of the NHS. And we are already delivering."

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Moving forward, the Health Secretary said 2022 would be a "year of renewal and reform" for the NHS.

"In the past, some governments chose cash, others chose reform. That's a false choice. You can't have one without the other," he said.

"So yes, we will continue to prioritise funding for the NHS in the wake of this global pandemic. But I also promise you this: 2022 will be a year of renewal and reform."

He said the NHS needed a "truly modern digitised system", describing it as the "only way" to drive down the backlog and build a sustainable service for the future.

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He went on to say: "No reform is easy, otherwise it would've been done already. But if we get it right, no, when we get it right, we won't build back the way things were.

"We'll build a future where our health and social care systems are integrated more seamlessly together, where British life sciences lead the world on new treatments, where we have not only the best surgeons, but robots performing life-saving surgeries."

He said health disparities have "deepened" over the course of the pandemic, adding that the gap in healthy life expectancy between Blackpool and Richmond-upon-Thames is "almost 20 years".

"It's time to level up on health."