Sajid Javid compares NHS to 'Blockbuster in the age of Netflix'

Sajid Javid compares NHS to ‘Blockbuster in the age of Netflix’ as Health Secretary vows to make hospitals high-tech after Covid

  • Sajid Javid compares current state of the NHS to failed video store Blockbuster
  • Health Secretary says hospitals are now ‘in the age of Netflix’ as he vows reform 
  • He promises greater use of tech – including AI – and a boost to productivity 

Health Secretay Sajid Javid today compared the NHS to ‘Blockbuster in the age of Netflix’ as he vowed to make hospitals high-tech after the Covid pandemic.

In a Cabinet meeting this morning, Mr Javid told fellow ministers that sticking with the status quo for the health service was ‘no longer simply an option’.

He also outlined an NHS target for ‘dramatically improving’ productivity to save billions of pounds a year, as well as plans to boost the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The Health Secretary’s suggestion that the current state of the NHS is like Blockbuster raised eyebrows – after the US-based video rental chain fell into bankruptcy in the 2010s while owing millions of dollars.

Downing Street later stressed that Mr Javid was making the point that existing ‘structures and systems’ were ‘designed for a different age’ and had not been ‘suitably updated’.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told fellow ministers that sticking with the status quo for the NHS was ‘no longer simply an option’

Cabinet ministers gathered in Number 10 this morning little more than 12 hours after Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote among Tory MPs


Mr Javid’s suggestion that the current state of the NHS is like Blockbuster – rather than Netflix – raised eyebrows. The US-based video rental chain fell into bankruptcy in the 2010s while owing millions of dollars

Cabinet ministers gathered in Number 10 this morning little more than 12 hours after Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote among Tory MPs.

In a nod to the late-night drama of yesterday, the Prime Minister told his top team the Government would ‘focus relentlessly on the issues that were uppermost in people’s minds’.

Mr Johnson then highlighted the ‘massive sums’ being invested into the NHS and social care and stressed the public ‘will want to see further improvements in the service they receive as a result’. 

According to a Number 10 account of the Cabinet meeting, Mr Javid updated his Cabinet colleagues ‘on the scale of the challenge post pandemic – saying we had a Blockbuster healthcare system in the age of Netflix’.

‘He said it was no longer simply an option to stick with the status quo,’ a Downing Street readout added.

‘He said large-scale changes were needed in areas such as the use of technology and data to help frontline workers deliver the high-quality service the public expects. 

‘He said government investment was delivering some early successes, with one million checks delivered with the help of 90 new diagnostic centres created since July, with 70 more due to open within two years allowing for nine million extra checks and tests per year.

‘He said the government had set the NHS a target of dramatically improving productivity to save £4.5 billion a year and outlined how the use of AI and technology could help free up clinicians to spend more time to patients.’

Asked later about what Mr Javid meant with his comparison to Blockbuster, the PM’s official spokesman said: ‘I think he was effectively making the point that some of the structures and systems within the healthcare system were designed for a different age and they’ve not been suitably updated over the years.’

The spokesman added that the Health Secretary is of the view that there needs to be ‘big and bold changes to the NHS and care system so the public can get the level of service they expect’.

But Number 10 ruled out more money being given to the NHS, beyond what has already been set out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

‘There is no further investment beyond obviously… the funding envelope already set out by the Chancellor,’ the spokesman said.

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