The government will legislate to take forward the proposals in health minister Lord Darzi's next stage review, it was confirmed in the Queen's speech today.

The NHS bill will create a duty to take account of the rights and responsibilities set out in the NHS constitution, which will be published alongside the legislation.

It will also require providers to publish annual quality accounts, similar to financial accounts, on the quality of their services.

The bill will lay the way for patients to be given individual budgets to commission their own health services, and will include measures to reduce smoking harm to young people

It is not specified whether this will include previous proposals of banning displays of cigarettes in shops, however.

The government's programme is dominated by measures to address the economic downturn.

Improving the nation's health

The Queen said: "Because the health of the nation is vital to its success and well-being, a bill will be brought forward to strengthen the National Health Service.

"The bill would create a duty to take account of the new National Health Service constitution that will set out the core principles of the service and the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff.

"The bill would also introduce measures to improve the quality of healthcare and public health."

The speech also confirmed proposals, to be included in a police and crime bill, to tighten controls on the sale of alcohol.

Personalised care

The NHS Confederation welcomed proposals on the constitution and personal budgets.

Policy director Nigel Edwards said: "The final test of the constitution will be how it is used to enable choice and helps drive the move towards more personalised care.

"It is important to stress that leaders in the NHS know the economy is in a downturn and that things will be getting tougher in public services.

"The NHS constitution provides the framework for the debate that will have to take place about the difficult choices which will have to be made in the coming years."