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Queen’s speech confirms 7-day NHS plans, health professionals respond

27 May 2015

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The Queen’s Speech today confirmed pre-election plans and Cameron’s post-election speech focusing on creating a seven day NHS.

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.”

Responding to the speech RCGP chair professor Maureen Baker said: “In addition to existing out of hours GP services, many practices are already offering extended opening times but it is difficult to see how we can deliver this more widely with current resources, especially when there is a severe shortage of GPs.

“Access to GP services is extremely important but prioritising weekend and evening access must not come at the expense of access and services during normal hours so that patients end up worse off.”

“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,” she said.

The chief executive of the General Medical Council, Niall Dickson, said he was “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He branded the current regulation system “outdated and not fit for purpose,” and mentioned his support for the draft Bill by the Law Commissions of the UK which he believes would streamline and reduce the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.”