NHS prevention plan aims to boost life expectancy

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock at his office in Parliament London

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock at his office in Parliament London

According to Hancock, prevention will be at the heart of the NHS long-term plan, and will use new approaches like predictive prevention, which will explore how digital technology can be used to offer individuals precise and targeted health advice in the community.

Helen Donovan, professional lead for public health at the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Matt Hancock must realise his plans will start at a disadvantage as local authorities struggle with planned cuts to public health budgets of nearly 4% per year until 2021."Disadvantaged areas emerge worse off without these vital services, with life expectancy and the poorest bearing the brunt of underinvestment in public health". He wants people to enjoy five more years of healthy, independent life by 2035.

Gidley also demanded more support for pharmacies in the execution of the plans. United Kingdom life expectancy is now 82.9 years for women, and 79.2 for men.

"Community pharmacies are ideally placed to help people to stay healthy and avoid visits to hospital - and look forward to working with the government to make this shared vision a reality".

"Making better choices by limiting alcohol, sugar, salt and fat".

How long are you going to live?

That was the view of health groups as they responded to a government policy paper that argued that prevention would form an "integral" part of the forthcoming long-term plan for the NHS.

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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".

The UK is now spending £97bn from the public purse on treating disease but just £8bn on preventing it, Mr Hancock is expected to tell the meeting during his keynote speech.

"You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up".

"Unless ministers reverse these cuts and start fully funding public health services, these announcements will be dismissed as a litany of hollow promises", he said.

Moreover, while the government has been trumpeting the £20.5bn as "the single largest cash injection for the NHS ever", it is important to note that "excluded central funds for public health, making the percentage seem larger and suggesting that public health was not a priority", said Dickson.

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

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said: "The Tories have imposed swingeing cuts to public health services, slashing vital prevention support such as smoking cessation services, sexual health services, substance misuse services and obesity help".

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