Three cheers for the NHS. The plan is to place more resources into prevention rather than waiting for the population to succumb to the big diseases (heart, diabetes, cancer etc). This is a great leap forward – I was starting to worry when attending a Science Festival talk last year, one particular panel was discussing new health innovations and how to detect disease earlier, and as if reading my mind, a gentleman in the audience asked how the NHS could help advise people to live healthier lifestyles. The barrage he received back from a GP who is very high up in the NHS, was extraordinary. She was adamant the responsibility did not lie with the NHS to do this, and that if someone could be so stupid as to live unhealthily that it was their problem. Well, as the NHS have finally concluded it has very become their own financial problem.
As the BBC reported, people in England are being told to cut back on alcohol, sugar, salt and fat in a bid to boost the nation’s healthy life expectancy by five years. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is setting out his long-term vision for the NHS on Monday – and the focus is on preventing illness. He says that 10 times more money is spent on treating disease than prevention – which “doesn’t stack up”. The plan also recommends that bosses should do more to keep staff healthy.
Mr Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there needed to be a shift in culture and in the way resources are balanced. “For too long the NHS has seen itself as essentially the National Hospital Service, with primary care and GPs round the side,” he said. “I want to see it as the health service of the nation, helping people to stay healthier.”
The plan also includes ambitions to: halve childhood obesity by 2030, reduce loneliness by making “social prescribing”, when doctors or nurses prescribe community activities – more widespread diagnosing 75% of cancers at stages one and two by 2028 use technology to predict patients’ illnesses and target advice at sections of the population.
Go Go Go NHS, we support you all the way.