The NHS Confederation and Amnesty International respond to the Queen’s Speech, highlighting elements such as a credible domestic agenda and the need for immigration reform
Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare system, said:
“If this Government is not to be defined by Brexit then it must develop a credible domestic agenda and finding a solution to the social care crisis should be right at the very top of this agenda.
“Thousands of vulnerable people are being left to fend for themselves every day without the care and support they need – this government must seize the opportunity and come forward with proposals that last a generation and more. We welcome the Government’s commitment to reform adult social care but we have been here before and need to see these welcome words put into firm action.”
Turning to Brexit and other plans outlined in the Queen’s Speech, Niall Dickson added:
“Extensive no-deal preparations have been made to secure the UK’s exit from the EU but the best way of guaranteeing that patients are protected must be through a negotiated deal. If this is not possible, then we need to find a way of agreeing on a mini-deal for health care that protects patients and the public both here and in the rest of Europe.
“This is very welcome. The NHS needs a full-scale reorganisation like a hole in the head. But a limited and targeted set of legislative reforms will help to make it easier to create more effective and integrated services for the public. We, therefore, support the proposed changes and the idea of an NHS Bill to replace parts of the Health & Social Care Act which are no longer fit for purpose.”
Responding to the announcement of reform of the Mental Health Act in the Queen’s Speech, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:
“It has been clear for some time that the Mental Health Act desperately needs modernising. Today’s commitment by the government is significant and is set to make a big difference to ensuring that those who have reached the point of crisis receive the care they need.
“It is important that we increase choice and provide more alternatives to detention in the wake of years of rising detention rates, with service users given a greater opportunity to have a say in their care. We need to ensure that gaps in terms of inequalities in access and outcomes are eradicated.”
There continue to be demands for a credible domestic agenda in the face of an all-consuming international focus on Brexit.
Talking about legislative inequalities, Amnesty International also responded to the Queen’s Speech.
In response to the Queen’s speech which sets out the Government’s proposed legislative programme for the next Parliamentary session, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, said:
“The Government must ensure that its focus on Brexit does not eclipse the urgent need to address pressing human rights issues in the UK.
“It is deeply concerning that the Queen’s speech included no measure to fundamentally reform the UK’s broken immigration system, including unjust Home Office detention and deportation powers.
“The welcome commitment to prioritise domestic abuse legislation must result in meaningful change for all survivors. So far the existing Bill has neglected to meet the specific needs of migrant women and will fail unless everyone who experiences this horrendous violence – regardless of immigration status – is offered safety and protection.
“The proposed Bills relating to immigration and domestic abuse give the Government an opportunity to do the right thing and treat people with humanity rather than suspicion. We urge politicians to take a human approach as they enter this next legislative phase.”
Meanwhile, the Queen’s speech also set out the Government’s agenda on Northern Ireland. Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International UK’s Northern Ireland director, said:
“We welcome the commitment to introduce the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill before the end of the year. The Bill must have victims’ needs at its centre and must become law without further unnecessary delay. Victims have already been made to wait for years for justice and must finally receive some measure of compensation for the pain they endured as children.
“It is disappointing that yet again the Government has failed to announce legislation to deal with the legacy of human rights violations in Northern Ireland, including the killing, injury and torture suffered by thousands of people here during the conflict.
“It’s unacceptable that victims have had to wait so long for truth and justice. Their agony must be brought to an end.”