07 January 2019

What's in store for the NHS, according to the new long-term plan?

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Earlier today, Prime Minister Theresa May and NHS England's  Chief Executive, Simon Stevens, published a new long-term plan for the health service, which they claim could save an "additional 500,000 lives by 2029".

The prime minister asked for the plan to be drawn up when she unveiled extra funding for the health service in the summer to mark its 70 year anniversary. 

The budget will grow by £20bn a year by 2023.

In an article authored by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, earlier today for The Times, he addressed the new plan, which only applies to the NHS in England:

"The NHS is rightly one of this country’s proudest achievements. Over a million people rely on its services every day.

"Yet the numbers are rising and our aging population presents a challenge. We’re rising to that challenge with £20.5 billion and a plan to get the most from it.

"Today’s NHS Long-Term Plan is focused on the idea that prevention is better than cure. It is a comprehensive set of proposals to ensure the NHS does not just meet this challenge but secures the NHS for future generations.

The plan is the product of thousands of conversations with clinicians, patients and the public right across the country to focus on the priorities that matter to us all."

How will the money be spent?

Mental health is due to receive £2.3bn extra of the £20bn, while GP and community care are to get £4.5bn.

NHS England said that will help pay for:

  • Mental health support in schools and 24-hour access to mental health crisis care via the NHS 111 service
  • Extra support in the community so patients can be discharged quickly from hospital
  • Digital access to health services, including online GP booking
  • Healthy living programmes for patients struggling with ill-health
  • New testing centres for cancer patients to ensure earlier diagnosis
  • DNA testing for children with cancer and those with rare genetic disorders to help select the best treatment.

The other UK nations are drawing up their own plans. Under the government's funding system they are getting an extra £4bn between them by 2023.

While areas of the NHS look set to improve in light of the NHS long-term plan, some critics are unimpressed that an equivalent long-term plan has not been devised for the social care sector. 

The King's Fund, an independent charity working to improve health and care in England, released the following statement: 

"The NHS and social care are two sides of the same coin, yet publication of the social care Green Paper has been delayed yet again. And while commitments for the NHS to do more promote public health are welcome, cuts to local government funding for public health services underline the need for a more consistent approach across government to the population’s health."

Richard Humphries, who describes himself in his Twitter description as "Senior Fellow The King's Fund; Visiting Professor University of Worcester; SCIE Associate. NED of NHS Trust" tweeted: 

"Deeply disappointing Government has been unable to deliver a joined-up plan for NHS & #socialcare - they are interdependent. #NHSlongtermplan won’t work without sorting social care. Integration message seems to be ‘do as we say, not as we do”.

UK charity, Carers Trust, was also quick to express their disappointment on the social media site:

"Disappointed the #NHSLongTermPlan has not been released alongside the still delayed Social Care Green Paper. Social care and support for #carers is vital if the NHS plan to prioritise out of hospital services is to succeed."

Social care

Matt Hancock has promised that the “well developed” Social Care Green Paper will be published in the coming weeks. 

What do you think about the NHS long-term plan? Would the social care sector benefit from a similar ten-year plan? Let us know by commenting, or tweet us @NewcrossHealth 

Source: https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/