The Queen’s speech addressed the government’s plans for the NHS and for ‘enabling it to deliver the highest quality care’.
Among the 22 bills outlined in the Queen’s speech was the Health Service Safety Investigations Bill, which is targeted at improving healthcare in England. The bill aims to establish an independent body to investigate possible breaches of patient safety, and would be the first body of its kind in the world.
‘Measures will be brought forward to support and strengthen the National Health Service, its workforce and resources, enabling it to deliver the highest quality care,’ said the Queen. ‘New laws will be taken forward to help implement the National Health Service’s Long Term Plan in England, and to establish an independent body to investigate serious healthcare incidents.’
A Medicines and Medical Devices Bill has also been suggested, which would allow hospitals to more simply manufacture and trial innovative medicines and diagnostic devices.
The speech promised reform in adult social care and the Mental Health Act, with a White Paper proposed for completion by the end of the year.
Responding to the Queen’s speech, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said, ‘We particularly welcome the specific commitment to bring forward proposals to support and strengthen the health service workforce and await the detail’.
‘A change in the law would support the NHS in England to better join up its services, support the delivery of the Long Term Plan and rein in costly competition. If any proposals are to achieve the best for services and their nursing staff, they must include a commitment to introduce clear roles, responsibilities and accountability for workforce planning and supply’.
The speech also promised further investment in the NHS, though no specific details were given.