The King's Fund comments on the Queen's Speech

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Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Richard Murray, chief executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘Despite the cruel toll of the Covid-19 pandemic on people using social care services and the Prime Minister’s promise to “fix the … crisis once and for all”, the Queen’s Speech once again stops short of a meaningful commitment to reform England’s broken social care system. 

'The focus on supporting the NHS to recover from the past year is welcome, but for that to succeed there must be equal focus on ensuring social care and public health services also recover, along with a long-term workforce plan that addresses staff shortages, tackles staff stress and burnout by improving working cultures and recognises the impact of the past year on staff wellbeing. 

'The Health and Care Bill signals a welcome step towards delivering integrated care centred around the needs of patients. However, once the Bill is laid before parliament, we will be examining the details closely, particularly new powers for ministers to take control of national decisions about the NHS and intervene in decisions about changes to local services.

'Conspicuous by its absence from the Queen’s Speech was any reference to a public inquiry to learn the lessons from the pandemic. Work to prepare for a full public inquiry should begin immediately to learn the lessons from the past year and ensure the country is ready to face future threats. Thousands of families mourning the deaths of loved ones will want to know that the government is doing everything it can to avoid others suffering the same fate.' 

Notes to editors

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.