Parkinson’s and the Queen’s Speech

The new government laid out their plans for the next five years in today's Queen’s Speech (19 December).

Measures announced in the speech cover the NHS, research, employment rights, social care and mental health law reform and introducing a national disability strategy.

The most relevant things announced for people with Parkinson’s, their carers, and their families are:

  • The NHS Funding Bill, that will set out in law the increased funding for the NHS.

  • The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill that aims to ensure the NHS and patients have faster access to the best innovative medicines.

  • The Health Service Safety Investigations Bill which will establish the world’s first independent body - the Health Service Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) – to investigate patient safety concerns and stop incidents recurring.

  • The Employment Bill that will encourage flexible working, introduce the entitlement to leave for unpaid carers, promote fairness in the workplace, offer greater protections for workers and introduce better support for working families.

Disability strategy

The government have also announced they will develop a national disability strategy in 2020, that will focus on: 

  • Improving the benefits system to better support disabled people.

  • Setting out measures to encourage employers to play their role in retaining disabled people and people with health conditions in the workplace.

  • Reducing the disability employment gap.

  • Introducing a minimum award length for the Personal Independence Payment and ensure that no one will be reassessed for at least 18 months from their last review, unless they tell the DWP that their needs have changed.

  • Ending unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need.

Research investment

In the speech, the government also committed to making the UK a ‘global science superpower’ that attracts brilliant people and businesses from across the world. 

They plan to boost public research and development funding, as well as introducing a new fast-track immigration scheme for the best and brightest scientists and researchers, and reduce bureaucracy in research funding to enable scientists to spend as much time as possible creating new ideas.

Social care reform

The government has confirmed that they want to seek a cross-party consensus on the long-term solutions for social care reform in England. They want to make sure that nobody needing care will be forced to sell their home to pay for it.

Mental health reform

They also confirmed that they will modernise the Mental Health Act to ensure people have a greater say in their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve.

Our next steps

We'll be briefing MPs and Peers on the impact of the government's plans on people with Parkinson's, their carers and families so they can raise this in the debates about the speech in the New Year.

We will also raise our points with members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Parkinson's, which will meet in early February 2020.

Join our campaigns network to get involved in our work, and make sure politicians understand Parkinson's and how they can improve their constituency for people affected by the condition.