Boris Johnson insists NHS will be at the centre of Queen's speech

18 December 2019, 22:43

Boris Johnson and the Queen
Boris Johnson and the Queen. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Prime Minister has insisted that the NHS will be at the heart of the Queen's speech on Thursday.

Downing Street have confirmed that the Queen's Speech will include measures to enshrine in law a NHS funding settlement which will see the service receive an extra £33.9 billion per year by 2023/24.

They have also pledged an additional £1 billion for social care in each year of the new parliament.

Boris Johnson said he wants to use the parliamentary tradition to push an agenda centred upon law and order, infrastructure, education and Brexit.

Brexit legislation will include proposals to implement the UK's future relationship with the EU, which is due to be agreed by the end of December 2020.

The Queen's Speech will also include proposed legislation to abolish hospital car parking charges for "those in greatest need", which will likely include disabled people, parents of sick children staying overnight, and staff working night shifts.

Speaking to NHS nurses at a Downing Street reception on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: "The NHS is the single greatest institution in this country and it's absolutely vital that we as political leaders, all kinds and all levels, understand what is going on in the NHS.

"But the pressures and demands are enormous and we have to help you cope with that.

He continued: "We have to invest and as you may have heard in the last few weeks, we are. We are upgrading hospitals, and building new hospitals.

"We are going to have 50,000 more nurses. We retain 19,000 who would otherwise vanish, and recruit another 31,000. We have 6,000 more GPs and 50 million more GP appointments over the next five years.

"We are now putting the biggest investment in the NHS in living memory. We have to keep that investment going."

This Queen's Speech will be more low key
This Queen's Speech will be more low key. Picture: PA

Downing Street have also confirmed and that the Queen's Speech will confirm an additional £1 billion for social care every year of the new Parliament.

The Government will also "urgently seek" a cross-party consensus for long-term reform so nobody has to sell their home to pay for care, Number 10 said.

New legislation will also see terrorists spend longer behind bars and make it easier for the police to stop and search known knife carriers.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "The re-election of this Government passes them the great responsibility of fixing the crisis in the NHS which 10 years of their underfunding has created.

"We will study the legislation they are putting forward, but the commitments from their election manifesto fall far short of what is needed to end record waiting times and staff shortages.

He continued: "If the Conservatives' plans to put funding increases into law is to be anything other than an empty gimmick, we would urge them to pledge the extra £6 billion a year which experts say is needed to start to make up the cuts they've imposed for a decade, and to put the necessary funding into public health and social care.

"This Government will be judged on its handling of the NHS and its ability to put right their disastrous handling of our country's most important institution over the past decade."

This Queen's Speech will be more low key than the last one in October, with cars used instead of carriages and a hat worn instead of a crown.