Wednesday 18 December 2019 10:30 pm

NHS to be the centrepiece of Queen's Speech

Tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech is set to reinforce the incoming government’s commitment to make the NHS its top priority over the next five years.

The big ticket item of the state opening of parliament will be a commitment to enshrine in law a multi-year NHS funding settlement, which would guarantee an extra £33.9 billion per year by 2023-24.

Read more: Queen’s Speech: Everything you need to know

The speech is expected to detail the government’s plans to build or redevelop 40 hospitals over the next 10 years and upgrade a further 20.

The extra spending will also be used to recruit 31,000 new nurses through a series of maintenance grants.

The government believes its spending promises will also stop 19,000 nurses who would have left the NHS to stay.

Speaking to nurses at a Downing Street reception tonight, Boris Johnson said: “The NHS is the single greatest institution in this country and it’s absolutely vital that we as political leaders, all kinds and all levels, understand what is going on in the NHS.

“You are doing an incredible job. 

“But the pressures and demands are enormous and we have to help you cope with that. 

“We have to invest and as you may have heard in the last few weeks, we are. We are upgrading hospitals, and building new hospitals.”

The new legislation, named the NHS Funding Bill, will be the first piece of legislation Johnson’s new government will put to Westminster after it passes his Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Johnson’s Brexit deal is set to be introduced to the house this week and will be re-written so that it is impossible for MPs to extend phase-two Brexit talks past December 2020.

Other pieces of legislation to be announced in the Queen’s Speech will be plans to increase levels of education funding per pupil in every school and a £1bn-a-year social care package.

It will also include the government’s plans to enforce tougher sentencing for violent offenders and those convicted of terrorist offences, and make it easier for police to stop and search “known knife carriers”.