NHS needs radical shift towards disease and illness prevention, Hancock warns

Karl Mc Donald     15 hours Sunday November 4th 2018   

						Diane Abbott thanks Windrush immigrant parents as she wins BAME award	

Karl Mc Donald 15 hours Sunday November 4th 2018 Diane Abbott thanks Windrush immigrant parents as she wins BAME award People

"There is a need to reverse the cuts to public health budgets, as in many areas, public health services do not adequately meet the health needs of the local population".

But she also stressed that it is "not only hospitals that are feeling the strain and we urgently need greater investment in general practice - both extra funding and additional numbers of Global Positioning System and other healthcare professionals - before we can take on the responsibility of caring for and supporting even greater numbers of patients".

"The links between the employers and the NHS and people who are unwell need to be strengthened here", Hancock said.

"Individuals have responsibilities and we want to empower people to make the right choices".

"We agree with [Mr Hancock] that we must do more to support preventative healthcare - this should help both people to live longer, healthier lives, and the health service to manage the increasing demands being placed on it".

Mr Hancock is expected to say: "It's about people choosing to look after themselves better, staying active and stopping smoking".

"This is where we can learn from the excellent record of our fearless armed services, who have an 85% return to work rate after serious injury while the equivalent rate for civilians is only 35%".

It goes on to say that the health and social care services need to fundamentally change to allow this to happen, and society as a whole has to get involved, for example bosses should do more to encourage their workers to stay healthy, local government should help encourage walking and cycling, and schools working more closely with mental health services to help young people stay mentally well.

"Any strategy to reduce pressure on the NHS is welcome but will only succeed if it tackles health inequalities as an integral part of prevention and public health" says Dr Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians.

Mr Hancock added the "numbers don't stack up" when it comes to spending on prevention as opposed to treatment. "You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up", he said.

"Well the number one cause of economic ill health is not having a job - and there are record numbers of jobs in this country".

SNP MP Stuart McDonald later urged the Health Secretary to support minimum alcohol pricing as a means of prevention. "Making better choices by limiting alcohol, sugar, salt and fat", he said.

In an interview with talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer ahead of his speech, Mr Hancock said he was "determined" to invest more in primary care, doctors and the community services that "stop people going into hospital in the first place". While it's clear he sees that prevention isn't an optional extra, we need to see properly funded, accountable services delivered by a fully staffed nursing workforce backed by adequate resources.