‘Notable omissions in Kings Speech’, says RCGP
Publication date: 07 November 2023
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, responds to the King’s Speech on 7 November.
Professor Hawthorne said: “An aspiration for a smoking-free society is one that all healthcare professionals, having seen the devastating consequences smoking can have on their patients' health, should be able to get behind. It is much easier to never have started smoking, than trying to stop once a habit has formed, so we are pleased to see steps towards a phased smoking ban outlined in today’s State Opening of Parliament.
“However, a number of notable omissions in the King's Speech are disappointing. There was no mention of the anticipated regulation of physician associates, expected later this year, to provide much-needed clarity on the role and to assign formal responsibility for their work - or a merging of the specialist and GP registers to reflect the parity of esteem that GPs have with doctors working elsewhere in the NHS.
"It was also concerning to see the Government fail to introduce reforms to the current Mental Health Act, something that has consistently been promised in their manifestoes, to improve the care our patients with mental health conditions receive. And there was no mention of a ban on the harmful and unethical practice of conversion therapy, something the College has long-supported through our signatory of an MOU with more than 25 other health organisations.
"Amidst the current climate emergency, something that has a significant impact on the health of people both in the UK and globally, while it was encouraging to hear about investment in renewable energy, it was disappointing to hear the Government's support for the future licensing of new oil and gas fields and that it will press ahead with issuing these.
“The Government's next opportunity to address the intense workload and workforce pressures facing GPs and our teams will be the Autumn Statement. The College recently set out seven steps needed to improve care for patients and safeguard the future of general practice and the wider NHS, including measures to enhance patient safety and a fully-funded national retention scheme to encourage existing GPs to remain in the profession, and we urge the Government to address this in its forthcoming budget."
RCGP Press office: 0203 188 7659
Notes to editors
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.