The Queen's Speech has outlined the UK Government's agenda for the next 5 years. Key pledges on the NHS include:

  • The NHS's multi-year funding settlement, agreed earlier this year, will be enshrined in law.
  • Steps will be taken to grow and support the NHS’s workforce and a new visa will ensure that qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals have fast-track entry to the United Kingdom.
  • Hospital car parking charges will be removed "for those in greatest need".

Commenting, Professor Derek Bell OBE, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

The Government must hit the ground running on the NHS, by urgently addressing the real challenges of long waiting times in emergency care and for elective operations and procedures. An evidence based approach is needed, rather than costly ‘must do’ top down ‘solutions’. Solutions should be based on patient and population need and supported by data to help deliver improved care. Working harder will not solve the problem. It will merely exacerbate health care professional burn out.

At a time when the NHS needs to retain staff, they must feel valued and their voice heard at all levels from government to the frontline. Rotas for many junior doctors are inhumane and rota gaps are in effect permanent vacancies in many hospitals. Failure to address this problem will lead to further problems and longer waiting times for services with poorer patient outcomes.

Longer term, the NHS must be sustainably funded. While we welcome the announcement that the NHS’s multi-year funding settlement will be enshrined in law, we await more detail as how the NHS will be sustainably funding for the next decade.

We welcome proposals for a ‘fast-track’ system for doctors coming into the UK which should be ethical, and we would hope that this will apply to all qualified doctors who wish to work in our NHS, where appropriate. We know the NHS has always been heavily reliant on clinicians from other countries, but we must ensure their training and personal needs are met.  Succesful recruitment and retention of NHS staff is of major importance.


1.More detail about the Queen's Speech can be found here.

Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658