The Queen's Speech has set out a number of key measures to support the NHS and the healthcare system by implementing the NHS Long Term Plan in England and building on the NHS’s own recommendations to ensure a health service fit for the future.

It also said that legislation will be taken forward to establish the Health Service Safety Investigations Body. This will be the world’s first such body, charged with independence and powers to investigate incidents that occur during the provision of NHS services that have, or may have, implications for the safety of patients.

Also included in the legislative pledges was a Medicines and Medical Devices Bill that will capitalise on opportunities to ensure that our NHS and patients can have faster access to innovative medicines, while supporting the growth of our domestic sector.

Modernising and reforming the Mental Health Act to ensure that people get the support they need, with a much greater say in their care, was also on the list of promises.

The legislative agenda of this parliamentary term was criticised, however, for providing no concrete proposals for truly reforming adult social care in England even though the speech pledged to bring forward substantive proposals to fix the crisis in adult social care, "giving people the dignity and security they deserve".

Pressing need for major reforms to social care funding

Professor John Appleby, Chief Economist at the Nuffield Trust, said: “The social care system is on its knees and currently unable to meet the urgent needs of thousands of vulnerable and elderly people in this country – we thought that all parties agreed that serious change was needed. We hope this will be rectified by the Government publishing plans for a comprehensive and fair system.

“Worryingly there were no reassurances that the proposed post-Brexit migration system won’t make things worse by blocking the staff the sector desperately needs.”

Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, also said that although the commitment to bring forward proposals to reform adult social care was welcomed, it’s time for the government to stop just saying they will fix it and to show us how they plan to do so. 

He said: "There is a pressing need for major reforms to social care funding. The adult social care system is failing the people who rely on it, with high levels of unmet need and providers struggling to deliver the quality of care that vulnerable people have a right to expect. Any meaningful future reform also needs to include working age adults, who account for half of social care spending."