Therese Coffey says spending on health and social care will stay 'exactly ...
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The NHS is at breaking point and the country is staring down the barrel of a cost of living crisis.

So what’s Thérèse Coffey’s big plan to save the country’s healthcare system? Punctuation.

The newly appointed health secretary has come in for criticism after telling healthcare workers to avoid using “oxford commas”.

Oxford commas are, of course, the punctuation marks that come before the last item written in a list.

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As the Financial Times reports, the instruction was included in the “New secretary of state ways of working preferences” which was published on the Department of Health and Social Care’s intranet.

A source told the publication that the email was “super patronising . . . It does make you consider if you’re in the right place when a new minister comes in with this.”

The email also urged NHS staff to “be precise” and “be positive — if we have done something good, let us say so and avoid double negatives”.

The source added: “The idea that we have to frame issues positively indicates a person who doesn’t want to deal with problems, so that’s not encouraging.”

It’s alleged to have perturbed staff at the UKHSA, which was formed out of Public Health England in 2021. The UKHSA has been the main agency dealing with the likes of Covid-19 and monkeypox since its formation.

It comes after health leaders said that Coffey has inherited an NHS and social care system “in crisis”.

Experts from across the sector have welcomed Ms Coffey to her new role as Health Secretary but warned that she has taken on the job during a challenging period for the health service.

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