Prevention and patient empowerment have been highlighted as “integral” parts of NHS England’s Long Term Plan, the health secretary has revealed.
Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, was speaking at the International Association of National Public Health Institutes 2018 conference where he outlined the NHS’ long-term vision for improving the health of people in the UK.
The vision includes halving childhood obesity by 2030 and taking steps to help lower air pollution.
Mr Hancock reiterated the government’s plan to halve childhood obesity by 2030, so they can improve young people’s health and reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
During his keynote speech, Mr Hancock discussed how prevention is at the heart of his plans. He told the audience that £97 billion of public money is currently being spent on treating and managing health conditions and only £8 billion goes on preventing it and that the “numbers don’t stack up”.
The government has recently announced that the NHS will receive a funding boost of £20.5 billion per year by 2023.
“Prevention saves lives and saves money,” he said. “Our task for the National Health Service [is] to help empower people to take more care of their own health. I want to talk about how we need to focus more on prevention to transform our health and social care system, save money, eliminate waste and make the extra £20.5 billion were putting in go as far as it can.”
Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England said: “Investing in prevention is the smartest thing we can do. We need to move from a system that detects and treats illnesses to one that also predicts and prevents poor health through promoting health in all policies and puts people back in charge of their own health.”
Mr Hancock has also pledged to reduce loneliness, diagnose three quarters of cancers at stages 1 and 2 by 2028 and significantly improve air quality.