Medicine

Health Secretary launches 'Prevention is better than cure' vision

Health Secretary launches 'Prevention is better than cure' vision

Hancock told the health conference that encouraging people to take "greater responsibility" for taking the strain off the NHS by cutting down how much they eat and drink.

Mr Hancock did not accept the point, claiming there had been a fall in inequality under the Conservatives, and stressing the "record number of jobs" available.

"This announcement represents an opportunity to address and reverse the damage that cuts to both health and local government budgets have caused to prevention services", he said. "Making better choices by limiting alcohol, sugar, salt and fat", he said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has issued a call for the NHS to place a greater emphasis on disease prevention to try to boost the national life expectancy by five years.

As part of the prevention plans, the government will hold a consultation next year to encourage employers to support more disabled people into work, and to improve access to occupational health.

Unveiling the policy paper at the annual meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes on 5 November, Hancock said: "In the United Kingdom, we are spending £97bn of public money on treating disease and only £8bn preventing it".

The BMA is asking for proposals to be matched with investment, to enable tougher action on the driving factors behind preventable ill-health. "You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up", he said.

"The combination of prevention and predictive medicine have more than twice the impact on the length of healthy life", he said.

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Public Health England will look at "harnessing digital technology" as a form of "predictive prevention", potentially leading to targeted health advice for people based on their their location and lifestyle.

Investing in prevention is the smartest thing we can do.

Two other major plans include diagnosing 75 percent of cancers at stages 1 and 2 by 2028 and sequencing 5 million genomes in 5 years, and offering whole-genome sequencing to all seriously ill children and those with cancer by 2019, as well as adults with rare diseases or cancers.

At the weekend Theresa May said the Conservatives "are now the natural party of the NHS" and said the Government was putting the public health system, created 70 years ago, on a path to "prosper for another 70 years and more".

Individual responsibility is at the heart of Health Secretary Matt Hancock's new policy for the future of the NHS.

Mr Hancock later told Sky News the recent £20.5bn extra funding for the NHS was not reliant on a Brexit deal.

The shift towards prevention has also been praised by the Royal College of Nursing, which reiterated the call for serious investment at a local level.

"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".