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Queen’s Speech: government fails to include investment for social care

Priorities should be addressing nursing vacancies and social care reform, says RCN

Government priorities should be addressing nursing vacancies and social care reform, says RCN

The Queens Speech has failed to include investment for social care reform and concerns continue to grow about nursing workforce shortages.

In introducing the speech which sets out the governments legislative agenda for the next session and is part of the official state opening of parliament - prime minister Boris Johnson said proposals to reform adult social care will be made later in the year, but gave no further details.

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Government priorities should be addressing nursing vacancies and social care reform, says RCN

The Queen delivering the speech in the House of Lords during today’s state opening of parliament
The Queen delivering the speech in the House of Lords during today’s state opening of parliament Picture: Chris Jackson

The Queen’s Speech has failed to include investment for social care reform and concerns continue to grow about nursing workforce shortages.

In introducing the speech – which sets out the government’s legislative agenda for the next session and is part of the official state opening of parliament - prime minister Boris Johnson said proposals to reform adult social care will be made later in the year, but gave no further details.

The RCN said social care reforms and investment to address shortages in the nursing workforce are what the government needs to prioritise.

Without staff funding, many will miss out on care they need

The college’s acting general secretary Pat Cullen said: ‘Ignoring social care is the same as ignoring the NHS – the pandemic shows their fates are intertwined. Together, they make up a system that is desperately in need of investment, with workforce shortages the top concern.’

Ms Cullen added that the government must use the Health and Social Care Integration Bill to get to grips with the 36,214 nursing vacancies in England. ‘The bill must address this by making the secretary of state responsible and accountable for planning and funding of staff. Unless there is real investment, as well as accountability for building the workforce, many more will miss out on the care they need.’

A briefing note to accompany the speech, said the government will engage with social and health care staff about how best to support the workforce and ensure reform is ‘informed by diverse perspectives’.


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