The Queen’s Speech, delivered earlier today at the state opening of the new Parliament, has outlined the UK Government’s priorities on the NHS, medicines and medical devices.
As expected, attention was paid in the speech to the UK’s departure from the European Union on 31st January, and the trade talks that will follow this. However, particular attention was also given to the Government’s plan on the NHS.
The Queen’s Speech reads:
“My Government will embark on an ambitious programme of domestic reform that delivers on the people’s priorities. For the first time, the National Health Service’s multi-year funding settlement, agreed earlier this year, will be enshrined in law.”
“Steps will be taken to grow and support the National Health Service’s workforce and a new visa will ensure qualified doctors, nurses and health professionals have fast-track entry to the United Kingdom. Hospital car parking charges will be removed for those in greatest need.”
From the perspective of medicines and medical devices, the Government has once again outlined a Medicines and Medical Devices Bill, as originally announced in October’s Queen Speech.
Differing from its previous version, the purpose of this Bill is outlined to:
“Ensure that our NHS and patients have faster access to the best innovative medicines while supporting the growth of the UK life sciences sector to ensure we remain at the forefront of the global life sciences industry. Allow the UK to take a leading role in global research to develop rapid diagnostics and advanced therapies and devices to provide transformational care for patients around the world after Brexit.”
The main elements of the Bill include ‘removing bureaucracy to low risk clinical trials’, increasing the range of professions able to prescribe medicines, and enabling the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to develop approaches to respond quickly to developments such as artificial intelligence.
The content and themes of this Bill are largely the same as those outlined in October’s Queen’s Speech.
Full details of the Speech and briefings on the proposed bills are available here.