Health Policy

19.12.19

NHS Confederation responds to Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech was announced today outlining the NHS as a key focus area for this government, highlighting that for the first time, the NHS multi-year funding settlement will be enshrined in law.

The workforce of the NHS, a cause of concern in recent years, was also addressed, with proposals to ‘grow and support’ the workforce, including a new visa providing a fast-track to the UK for qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals.

The Mental Health Act and social care reform were featured in the speech and plans for a system that ‘provides everyone with the dignity and security they deserve.’

Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech, Nick Ville, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
 
“The NHS is rightly at the heart of the incoming government’s new plans after an election campaign underlining its importance to the public.
 
“The legally binding NHS spending commitment is welcome but we need to be realistic about what this extra investment will buy and how soon patients will benefit from it. Immediate priorities must now be setting an appropriate budget in the 2020 Spending Review to restore investment in training clinicians and creating an emergency capital infrastructure fund for NHS trusts with maintenance backlogs deemed high or significant risk.
 
“‘Get Brexit done’ was Boris Johnson’s election campaign mantra but he must do this in a way that looks after the nation’s health and wellbeing.
 
“The government’s plan to add a new clause to the Brexit bill to rule out extension to the transition period beyond the end of next year will put significant pressure on negotiations.
 
“The short timescales to agree a future trade deal with the EU present a challenge, and a significant risk that the safety and health of patients and citizens could be overlooked during negotiations.
 
“The promise of a points-based system opens up new opportunities to recruit NHS staff from overseas but the government must ensure the criteria avoid being too prescriptive or arbitrary. This is vital if we are looking to recruit talent from abroad to tackle the workforce shortages in social care.”

Photo: Leon Neal/PA Wire/PA Images

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