Commenting on today's Queen's Speech, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:
'The Prime Minister has promised to "fix the crisis in social care once and for all" and the Queen's Speech reiterated that the government would seek cross-party consensus on proposals. With growing numbers of people unable to access the care they need, there is no time to waste. Fundamental reform of social care should be the immediate priority – the government must now grasp the nettle.
'The commitment to extra funding for the NHS reconfirmed in the Queen's speech is welcome but still falls short of what's needed to maintain the existing quality of services, let alone modernise and improve care.
'It is positive the government has committed to securing more nurses and GPs and using a new NHS visa scheme to reduce barriers to recruiting NHS staff from abroad. But recruiting GPs and nurses will not be easy and in the meantime patient care is at risk from the acute and growing workforce shortage. We need to ensure that training budgets receive continued upward investment and staff have incentives to work in the areas of greatest need.
'The government has said that prevention of ill health is a top priority. To deliver on this, it must look beyond the NHS. Less visible areas of public spending that help keep people healthy, such as children's and welfare services, housing, and the public health grant, urgently need investment. If the UK is to flourish, investing in the health stock of the nation is non-negotiable.'
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