New prime minister Liz Truss has been urged to prioritise tackling the ‘profound’ public health challenges facing the country.
With Truss beating Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Party leadership campaign, announced today, and becoming Prime Minister tomorrow, William Roberts, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “The public health challenges our country faces today are profound. The overlapping challenges of the cost of living crisis, continued impact of the pandemic, and stretched and exhausted public health systems call for bold leadership and urgent action.
“The new Prime Minister has the opportunity to inject much-needed funding and support for the public and the work force.
“We look forward to seeing their policies that champion tackling inequalities and making public health everyone’s responsibility,” Roberts added.
The Royal College of Nursing, meanwhile, has the taken the opportunity of a new Prime Minister to reiterate demands for fair pay for all nursing staff, urging Truss to recognise the value of nursing staff across the UK.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “The new Prime Minster must demonstrate to the millions of people in the UK’s health and care workforce that not only is she listening but also delivering. Decisive political action to help them at home and at work has never been required with such urgency.
New PM Liz Truss
“With many of the ills in our health and care services caused by political negligence, they can be addressed by swift political attention too. As the representative of half a million nursing staff, Liz Truss will hear directly from me. She must begin by accepting that safe numbers of staff are needed immediately to stand the best chance of reducing waiting lists, giving appointments and quite literally saving lives,” Cullen added.
Last week, in an open letter to departing prime minister Boris Johnson and his successor – now confirmed of course to be Truss – 17 mental health organisations warned that the entire mental health support system could be left “on the brink of collapse” by the looming cost of living crisis this autumn and called for urgent action.