The King's Fund responds to the Queen’s Speech

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Commenting on today’s Queen’s Speech, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund said:

‘Additional NHS investment is welcome and will help to start to stabilise NHS services, but it is not a funding bonanza: by historic standards the amount promised is, in real terms, below the long-term average in NHS spending, and it also doesn’t represent a comprehensive funding plan that includes workforce training, capital funding, or public health.

‘The government must be honest with the public: as well as additional funding, a credible plan to increase the workforce is also urgently needed. Even then, it will take time to bring down waiting times and patients will unfortunately continue to wait longer to receive the care that they need.

‘The new NHS visa is a welcome but limited response to the need to recruit international staff to meet pressing workforce shortages. Health workers coming to the UK will still need to pay the immigration surcharge, which is set to increase to £625 per person every year, on top of the £464 they will still have to pay for a visa. This also does nothing to address staff shortages in social care.

‘We welcome the government’s commitment to bring forward draft legislation to support the implementation of the NHS long-term plan. This should be based on the targeted proposals NHS England have developed to make it easier for NHS organisations to collaborate with each other and their local partners to improve services for patients.

‘The additional £1 billion a year to give a short-term boost to social care services for both adults and children is not enough to meet rising demand for care while maintaining quality and accessibility of services. The Prime Minister is right to reach across party lines by seeking a cross-party consensus on social care reform but needs to honour his promise to “fix the social care crisis once and for all” by bringing forward meaningful proposals for reform.’

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.

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