The Royal College of Physicians' president, Professor Jane Dacre, gives her response to the announcements made in the Queen's speech.
Professor Dacre said:
While the Brexit negotiations will take place over the next 2 years and the impact of these talks will be enduring, important decisions still need to be made for the future of the NHS and the UK’s healthcare, and it is crucial that these are not overshadowed. We welcome the government’s commitments to introduce new mental health legislation, and consult on reform of social care provision, in the best interest of patients. We look forward to working with the government on these vital areas.
However, it is concerning that the government has not taken this opportunity to address some of the wider issues facing the delivery of healthcare including the regulation of new health professionals such as physician associates. NHS staff must be supported to deliver the best possible care for patients. Patient safety is paramount, and we encourage the government to work closely with all those in the medical community to develop the best framework possible for the draft patient safety bill.
It is clear from the Queen’s speech that the priority for the UK is securing the best deal during the Brexit negotiations – that should mean the best deal for patients and the NHS. We reiterate that the process of exiting the EU cannot be allowed to risk patient safety or the quality of care.
Our four-point plan for the next government calls for patient care to be kept at the centre of Brexit negotiations and for this government to reassure NHS staff from the EU that they have a right to remain in the UK and continue to provide vital services.