NHS Long Term Plan
Anthony Devlin/Pool via REUTERS

Prime Minister Theresa May today (7 January) launched the NHS Long Term Plan that aims to tackle major killer conditions and save up to half a million lives at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

NHS will use the latest technology coupled with early detection and a renewed focus on prevention to stop an estimated 85,000 premature deaths each year.

NHS leaders have also outlined measures that 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.

The Plan sets out how the £20.5 billion budget settlement for the NHS, which May announced in summer 2018, will be spent over the next 5 years.

“The NHS Long Term Plan sets a clear direction for the NHS backed by record funding that will protect the service for generations to come,” May said.

The Plan, for the first time time, envisages faster growth in primary, community and mental health care investment than that of overall NHS budget with a £4.5 billion funding boost.

Mental health services will receive the biggest ever investment, rising to at least £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24. NHS will reach out to 345,000 more children and young people who need mental health help through the expansion of community based services, including in schools.  

The Plan, developed in partnership with frontline health and care staff, patients and their families, will open a digital ‘front door’ to the health service, allowing patients to be able to access health care at the touch of a button and ensure every hospital with a major A&E department has ‘same day emergency care’ in place.

The Plan aims to 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.  

NHS will 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. It will also provide for genetic testing for a quarter of people with dangerously high inherited cholesterol, reaching around 30,000 people.

The Plan also includes measures to improve out-of-hospital care, halve the number of stillbirths, maternal and neonatal deaths and serious brain injury by 2025 and support older people through more personalised care and stronger community and primary care services. It also makes digital health services a mainstream part of the NHS to enable patients to access a digital GP offer in 5 years.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Whether it’s treating ever more people in their communities, using the latest technology to tackle preventable diseases, or giving every baby the very best start in life, this government has given the NHS the multi-billion-pound investment needed to nurture and safeguard our nation’s health service for generations to come.”

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