With a backlog of 4.7 million patients awaiting treatment, the Prime Minister will use the Queen’s speech on Tuesday to warn MPs that more funds are needed to restore and rebuild the health service, and will promise to place it at the heart of its program for the other three years before the next elections.
Downing Street acknowledged that the coming years will see “significant constraints on public spending” due to the unprecedented scale of borrowing for the coronavirus response, making it “more difficult” to implement the leveling program from Mr Johnson.
But there was no immediate announcement of new funds for the NHS, and health experts have warned the recovery will be hampered by the absence of legislation to reform social care.
The Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s legislative program for the coming year, should refer to the Prime Minister’s “ambition” to reform the financing of social care, but will not commit him to tabling a bill. of law during the 2021-2022 session.
Health and care professionals are deeply frustrated by the delays in implementing the plan to ‘solve the social services crisis once and for all’, which Mr Johnson said he prepared when he came to power in 2019.
Suzie Bailey, Director of Leadership at the King’s Fund Health Think Tank, said The independent: “Any investment in the NHS is always welcome and it is good that the government recognizes the extent of the backlog.
“However, serious consideration needs to be given to a long-term plan for the workforce, recognizing the need to fill the gaps in vacancies in hospitals, mental health, primary care, community services and physicians. general practitioners and meet the needs of NHS staff.
The government expects demand on the NHS to increase further in the weeks and months to come, as people who have refrained from seeing doctors during the pandemic come forward for treatment. Officials were making plans to deal with the unprecedented backlog.
Mr Johnson plans to do an ‘honest’ public assessment of the extent of the challenge of ensuring patients get the care they need and say that the recovery of NHS services will be at the heart of his plans. country upgrade.
The government has announced £ 325million for diagnostic equipment and £ 1billion to launch elective services, in total additional funding of £ 92bn over the next two years.
The Queen’s Speech will also propose legislation to empower the NHS to innovate and embrace new technologies, as well as mental health law reforms to address the impact of the pandemic on people’s well-being. .
A No 10 source said: ‘We need to be honest with the public about the damage to the NHS from the coronavirus and the scale of the challenge ahead.
“Now more than ever, the NHS is the government’s priority – and restoring patient services is at the heart of it.
“We need to achieve a national recovery that spreads opportunity and transforms the whole of the UK, and this Queen’s speech will have that ambition at heart.”
Mr Johnson also pledges promising legislation in the Queen’s Speech to support jobs, businesses and the economy in the aftermath of the pandemic, while delivering on commitments to create safer streets and neighborhoods and achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The Prime Minister said: “The impact of the pandemic on the lives of people has been unique in our history.
“My government is still focused on fighting this disease, saving lives and livelihoods and rolling out vaccines, but I am also determined to look forward and deliver on the promises we have made to the British people.
“Not only will we tackle the aftermath of the pandemic, but we will go further to unite and level the country, fight crime and create opportunities across the country for businesses and families to build a better future.”