The blueprint to make the NHS fit for the future will use the latest technology, such as digital GP consultations for all those who want them, coupled with early detection and a renewed focus on prevention to stop an estimated 85,000 premature deaths each year. Measures outlined by NHS leaders will help prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases while more than three million people will benefit from new and improved stroke, respiratory and cardiac services over the next decade. Patients will benefit from services ranging from improved neonatal care for new parents and babies to life-changing stroke therapy and integrated support to keep older people out of hospital, living longer and more independent lives.
What does this mean for the NHS' future?
The NHS Long Term Plan is also the first time in the NHS’ 70 year history when there will be a new guarantee that investment in primary, community and mental health care will grow faster than the growing overall NHS budget. This will fund a £4.5 billion new service model for the 21st century across England, where health bodies come together to provide better, joined up care in partnership with local government. The commitment to tackle major physical conditions comes alongside the biggest ever investment in mental health services rising to at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24. Building on significant expansion in recent years, the long term plan will see around two million more people who suffer anxiety, depression or other problems receive help over the next decade including new dads as well as mums, and 24 hour access to crisis care via NHS 111.
What else will the NHS Long Term Plan aim to achieve?
- Open a digital ‘front door’ to the health service, allowing patients to be able to access health care at the touch of a button
- Provide genetic testing for a quarter of people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol, reaching around 30,000 people
- Give mental health 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.
The NHS has been marking its 70th anniversary, and the national debate has rightly centred on three big truths. There’s been pride in our health service’s enduring success, and in the shared social commitment it represents. There’s been concern – about funding, staffing, increasing inequalities and pressures from a growing and ageing population. And there’s also been legitimate optimism – about the possibilities for continuing medical advance and better outcomes of care.
In looking ahead to the Health Service’s 80th birthday, this NHS Long Term Plan acts on all three of these realities. It keeps all that’s good about our health service and its place in our national life. It tackles head-on the pressures our staff face. And it sets a practical, costed, phased route map for the NHS’s priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement for the decade ahead.
What is Healthwatch Hillingdon's response?
Following the publication of the long term plan, Healthwatch undertook national engagement to understand what the public wants from its NHS, what is working well, and what needs improvement. We have now published our local report on the NHS Long Term plan, as a result of the #WhatWouldYouDo campaign.