Rishi Sunak to use Covid vaccine task force to tackle key NHS issues

Rishi Sunak announced more than £113 million for research (Picture: PA)

Rishi Sunak hopes to use the Covid vaccine task force as an inspiration for tackling the NHS’s four ‘healthcare missions’ of cancer, obesity, mental health and addiction.

The prime minister announced more than £113 million for research into new treatments and technologies with the aim of encouraging breakthroughs.

Each of the missions will be led by an independent expert chosen by a panel including Dame Kate Bingham, who headed the vaccine rollout.

Ministers believe the strategy could save the NHS billions, with obesity alone thought to cost £6.1 billion per year.

Mr Sunak said: ‘The NHS faces real pressures, which is why we are investing in the technologies and medicines of the future to address some of the biggest public health challenges facing our country.

‘It is hugely welcome too that the highly successful vaccine task force, which procured millions of life-saving vaccines during the pandemic, will now become a blueprint for how we harness the best talent and expertise from around the world and drive investment in research and development.’

He will meet NHS leaders and key industry figures today.

The British Medical Association welcomed the ‘injection of funding’ for research but warned it must be coupled with further investment in the NHS and welfare system.

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