The Queen’s Speech confirmed Cameron’s post-election speech on creating a seven-day NHS, but did not mention a Bill to reform the Nursing and Midwifery Council's regulatory framework.
This morning in Westminster during the state opening of parliament the Queen set out the government's plans for legislation during the next five years.
The Queen said: “In England my government will secure the future of the National Health Service by implementing the National Health Service’s own five-year plan, by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care and ensuring the National Health Service works on a seven day basis. Measures will be introduced to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare.”
Commenting on the speech, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Patient care should be of the same standard at 9am on a Sunday morning as 9am on a Tuesday morning, and we look forward to working with the government to identify what is needed to ensure that the NHS is safely staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nursing services will be paramount to implementing these changes.
“It was disappointing to see that there was no Bill to reform the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s out-dated legal framework... Such a bill would have improved regulation and made it more cost effective, which would be good for both nurses and patients,” he said.
This afternoon, the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s chief executive Jackie Smith said she is “deeply disappointed” that the regulation Bill was not included in the speech, branding this “a major setback.”
“There is an overwhelming consensus that our current legislation is hopelessly out of date, inefficient and costly. It does not serve the public or the professions well. We are now left continuing to spend the majority of resources on the few where concerns have been raised,” she said, calling for urgent regulation reform.
Similarly the chief executive of the General Medical Council, Niall Dickson, said he was also “deeply disappointed” that regulation reforms were not mentioned.
“The Mid-Staffordshire inquiry highlighted the vital importance of effective regulation focused on promoting safe, compassionate patient care rather than, as too often in the past, intervening only after patients have been harmed,” he said.
He branded the current regulation system “outdated and not fit for purpose,” and mentioned his support for the draft Bill by the Law Commissions of the UK which he believes would streamline and reduce the burden of regulation, drive down costs and help health professionals provide high quality care.
Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said: “We welcome the commitments to implementing the Five Year Forward View for the NHS and to providing the additional £8bn per year real-terms increase by 2020, as well as the Prime Minister's focus on transformation.
“But over and above this £8bn we believe that the government needs to resource a ‘transformation fund’ for the NHS to develop new ways of caring for people that are more efficient and higher quality. Without it, there are high risks of a shortfall in funding by £30bn opening up by 2020.”
Responding to the speech RCGP chair professor Maureen Baker said: “We are pleased that the Government has reiterated its commitment to delivering the Five Year Forward View and hope that it will honour its promise of 5,000 additional GPs as a matter of urgency.
"We look forward to working with the Government to increase investment for general practice and to boost the GP workforce, so that we can give all our patients the care they need and deserve.”
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