NHS prevention plan aims to boost life expectancy

Henrietta Strickland
November 7, 2018

As part of the prevention plans, the government will hold a consultation next year to encourage employers to support more disabled people into work, and to improve access to occupational health.

Launching its 'Prevention is better than cure' strategy this morning (November 5), the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) said it will "put prevention at the heart of the NHS long-term plan" and greater focus will be put on "primary and community care services and the value they can bring in offering early support".

"The links between the employers and the NHS and people who are unwell need to be strengthened here", Hancock said.

Matt Hancock, speaking to the International Association of National Public Health Institutes, spoke about a major push for prevention, and said that people should "take more care of their own health".

The health secretary Matt Hancock has called on people to make healthier lifestyle choices, such as reducing their consumption of alcohol, sugar, salt, fat and junk food, stopping smoking and staying active.

Mr. Hancock insists it is not about "patronising" patients, "It's about helping them make better choices, giving them the all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy".

Mr Hancock added the "numbers don't stack up" when it comes to spending on prevention as opposed to treatment.

Hancock also pointed out the United Kingdom is now spending £97bn of public money on treating disease and only £8bn preventing it across the UK. "Being told what to do by a government minister?' But if I say, 'If you have a particular problem with your B12 because of what your genome says, or what your genes say", then you are much more likely ... you'll be eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner".

Public Health England is looking at "harnessing digital technology" as a form of "predictive prevention", potentially leading to targeted health advice for people based on their their location and lifestyle.

Helen Donovan, from the Royal College of Nursing, welcomed the plans but said they needed to be backed up with serious investments.

"We have to back this commitment with real action and properly fund and staff these important services", he urged.

Commenting on the document, Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS England Board, said the vision "need to be matched by appropriate investment" by the government, particularly in the backdrop of "continued pressure on local authority budgets and cuts to public health services".

And Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth said the plans follow "years of cuts and failed privatisation".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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