“This is an historic moment. Our vision is clear. Our commitment is assured. So let’s deliver the NHS of the future” – Theresa May
The Prime Minister has said that today’s launch of the NHS Long Term Plan marks an “historic moment” which will secure the NHS for future generations and could save up to 500,000 lives over the next decade.
The plan will see an extra £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023/24 being invested in the NHS. This funding is aimed at protecting the long term future of the NHS, and is more than a simple one-off cash injection. Theresa May said that the plan means the government is “reshaping the NHS around the changing needs of patients today“.
In June, the Prime Minister set out six priorities which are now central to this plan.
- Greater integration of the health service, organising care around the physical, mental and social needs of the patient.
- Focusing more on prevention and early diagnosis
- Reducing variant between organisations across the NHS, so “the world class health service available for some, reaches all parts of the country”.
- Greater support for the workforce, the “lifeblood of the NHS”
- Greater use of technology – from being able to contact your GP on your smartphone and manage prescriptions.
- Putting mental health on a par with physical health
Asthma UK have said that this plan could be a “watershed moment” for those in the UK who live with asthma, and that it is “hugely positive that the NHS is committing to reduce hospital admissions for people with asthma” and that the pilot for “smart” inhalers are “game-changing devices“. The charity Mind has welcomed the £2.3 billion designated for mental health services in England and said “this plan will make a difference to the lives of thousands of people with mental health problems“.
Announcements within this long term plan include:
- Measures to prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases
- NHS will provide genomic testing for every child with cancer in order to offer them tailored treatment
- Increased action to tackle major killer conditions such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes and lung disease.
- Greater focus towards preventative measures, GPs will use more “social prescribing” and telling patients to exercise more, and pregnant women will be targeted with regular emails to prevent smoking and alcohol abuse.
- “Smart” inhalers will have a pilot scheme
- A “digital front door” to the NHS will allow patients to contact their GP and access their health care.
- New parents will be offered two years specialist perinatal mental health support.
- Reform to avoid 30 million outpatient visits
- Guaranteed support for older people at home and in their community