RSPH welcomes the announcement of a new 10 year NHS Plan, which includes an increase in investment in primary, community and mental health care, as well as a commitment to embrace new technologies and a renewed focus on prevention to stop an estimated 85,000 premature deaths each year. 

The plan includes the following:

  • Provide genetic testing for a quarter of people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol, reaching around 30,000 people
  • Increasing funding and support for mental health services, including a commitment to see around two million more people who suffer anxiety, depression or other problems receiving help over the next decade and to increase help to 345,000 more children and young people through the expansion of community based services, including in schools
  • Use cutting edge scans and technology, including the potential use of artificial intelligence, to help provide the best stroke care in Europe with over 100,000 more people each year accessing new, better services
  • Invest in earlier detection and better treatment of respiratory conditions to prevent 80,000 hospital admissions and smart inhalers will be piloted so patients can easily monitor their condition, regardless of where they are
  • Ensure every hospital with a major A&E department has ‘same day emergency care’ in place so that patients can be treated and discharged with the right package of support, without needing an overnight stay.
  • Allowing patients to be able to access health care digitally

RSPH also welcomes additional funding, including the announcement of £4.5 billion investment in a new service model for the 21st century across England, to support health bodies to come together to provide improved, joined up care, in partnership with local government.

Duncan Stephenson, Director of External Affairs, RSPH said: “There is much within the NHS Long Term Plan to welcome – particularly in terms of secondary prevention – from reducing hospital admissions, providing support to smokers and heavy drinkers and the introduction of ambitious targets to reduce deaths from some of our biggest killers.   

It is also encouraging to see further investment and support in mental health services, which are so vitally important – particularly the commitment to provide new support teams in schools to help identify mental health problems earlier and those in need. However, while there is much to welcome from NHS England, in terms of secondary prevention, improving diagnosis and embracing new technologies, the best laid plans can go to waste if not backed up by sufficient funding.  In 2014, the NHS Five Year Forward View promised a radical upgrade for public health and prevention, although this has to some degree been undermined by a series of assaults on Local Authority public health budgets. There is an urgent need for the Government to fund primary prevention, which has the potential to stop some of the killer diseases we face from developing in the first place.”