The Health Secretary compared the NHS to a now-defunct video rental store in a world dominated by streaming services, saying the country has a “successful healthcare system in the age of Netflix “. Downing Street said Sajid Javid told a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that it was “no longer just an option to stick with the status quo”, and that the government had set a target for the NHS “to dramatically improve productivity” to save £4.5 billion a year. .
But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said there was no new money to cover the reforms, beyond what had already been announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
He told reporters: “The Health and Social Care Secretary has briefed Cabinet on the magnitude of the post-pandemic challenge, saying we have Blockbuster Health System in the era of Netflix. He said that it was no longer simply an option to stick to the status quo.
“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 has come to expect. He said that the government had set a target for the NHS to dramatically improve productivity to save £4.5billion a year.”
Asked what the Blockbuster and Netflix analogy meant, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said the Health Secretary argued that some of the “structures and systems” of the healthcare system were “designed for a different age”. Mr Javid believes there needs to be ‘significant and bold change to the NHS and the healthcare system so that the public can get the level of service they expect’, he said.
But when asked if there would be new funds to cover the costs, the spokesperson said: ‘There is no further investment beyond obviously… the funding envelope already defined by the Chancellor.”
Blockbuster closed its remaining UK stores in December 2013 after administrators were unable to find a buyer for the chain. It had been hit hard by intense competition from supermarkets, as well as the shift from physical rentals and sales to online games, music and movies.
Downing Street said Boris Johnson told his cabinet that the government is ‘rightly investing massive sums in the NHS and the social care system’ and that ‘the public will want to see further improvements in the service they receive Consequently”.